The federal government has implemented the first of two regulations phases concerning air passenger rights, making a lot of Canadian travellers very happy.
July 15 marked the beginning of a new era for air passengers who face delays and uncertainty surrounding whether or not their flight would be cancelled.
"Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive," said Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.
These latest regulations apply to all flights to, from, and within Canada, in addition to any and all connecting flights. The initial focus of the new rules centres on the rights of passengers to be informed of cancelled or delayed flights at half-hour intervals, as well as receiving compensation if a flight is severely delayed or cancelled.
Changes as of July 15
The first phase of rules, which went into effect July 15, includes verbiage that addresses standards of treatment in the event of a delay due to overbooking or delays on the tarmac. It also addresses compensation for lost luggage, the length of the delay, and whether or not travellers reach their booked destination.
Overbooking delays compensation:
- Less than six hours: minimum $900 compensation
- Six to nine hours: minimum $1,800 compensation
- Longer than nine hours: minimum $2,400 compensation
- Airlines will assume liability for a lost bag up to $2,100 plus refunded baggage fees
- Airlines will have to include terms and conditions for musical instruments both as a carry-on and checked luggage
Standards of treatment:
- Planes delayed on the tarmac should be kept at an appropriate temperature and well ventilated, and food and drink should be provided to passengers
- Planes on the tarmac for three hours with no expectation of being able to leave within 45 minutes will return to the gate so passengers can disembark.
Changes That Come Into Effect December 15
On December 15, additional changes affecting compensation paid to passengers will come into effect. These changes will affect travellers whose flights are significantly late reaching their final destination and will be implemented on a sliding scale based on airline size. Additionally, rules concerning children being seated close to parents or guardians will also be implemented.
- Three to six-hour delay: $400
- Six to nine-hour delay: $700
- Delays longer than nine hours: $1000
- Three to six-hour delay: $125
- Six to nine-hour delay: $250
- Delays longer than nine hours: $900
Children under the age of five will be mandated to be seated next to their parent or guardian. Children who are between the ages of five and 11 must be seated in the same row, or one seat away. Children between the ages of 12 and 13 cannot be more than a row away from their assigned adult.
Travellers affected by these new regulations have up to a year to file a compensation claim and can expect to be rebooked by the airline at no additional cost. These rules bring Canada in line with European policies.
It is important to note that claims must be the results of "delays or cancellations that are in the airline's control and not related to safety." Trip cancellation insurance is still a good idea to protect against cancellations that do not fall under the new regulations. Get a quote for travelers insurance today and have peace of mind on your next flight.