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New Air Passenger Protection Regulations now in effect

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Last May, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced the finalization of the ‘Air Passenger Protection Regulations’, but it was not immediately put into effect. However, on July 15th they were required to meet some of the new obligations where passengers are compensated including; lost or damaged baggage and transportation of musical instruments, delays on the tarmac, communication problems and overbooking. And now, the remaining obligations are coming into effect. Here is a summary of the CTA regulations in effect as of December 15th 2019.

New Air Passenger Protection Regulations

FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS:
– Minimum Levels of Compensation: Airlines are required to pay passengers compensation for flight delays or cancellations that are in their control and not related to safety. Passengers are entitled to compensation based on the length of delay at arrival at their final destination (CDN $).

Large Airlines length of delay: 3-6 hours $400, 6-9 hours, $700 9+ hours $1000. Small Airlines length of delay: 3-6 hours $125, 6-9 hours $250 9+ hours $500.

– A passenger has one year to make a compensation claim with the airline that operated the disrupted flight. The airline has 30 days to respond by issuing a payment or indicating why it believes compensation is not owed.

– Airlines have to offer passengers this compensation in monetary form. They can also offer passengers alternative forms of compensation (e.g., vouchers or rebates), but passengers always have the right to select what they prefer. As well, alternative forms of compensation offered have to be of higher value than the monetary compensation that is required, and can never expire.

Standards or treatment with the New Air Passenger Protection Regulations:

– After a departure delay of 2 hours, the airline operating the disrupted flight has to provide food and drink in reasonable quantities and a means of communication, such as free Wi-Fi. If a passenger must wait overnight, airlines have to offer hotel or other comparable accommodation free of charge, as well as free transportation to the accommodation.

– Rebooking and Refunds: For all types of flight delays or cancellations, the airline operating the flight has to ensure passengers reach their final destination. When a flight is cancelled, or once a delay reaches 3 hours, an airline must also offer alternate travel arrangements in the same class of service and using a reasonable route. The airline must rebook the passenger on the next available flight operated by them or an airline with which they have a commercial agreement.

If the situation is within the airline’s control (whether or not it is related to safety) and the next available flight would not leave within 9 hours of the original departure time, a large carrier must rebook the passenger on a flight operated by any airline. If a large airline is unable to rebook a passenger on a flight leaving the same airport within 48 hours of the original departure time, they have to book the passenger on a flight leaving another airport, if there is an option nearby.

– For disruptions other than those outside the airline’s control, a passenger would be entitled to a refund instead of rebooking if the arrangements offered do not meet their travel needs or there is no longer any purpose to the travel, because of the disruption. Passengers who experience a flight disruption that is within the airline’s control but not required for safety and who choose to take a ticket refund instead of rebooking must still be compensated for inconvenience. Large airlines must pay them $400 and small airlines $125.

– In the event of a flight disruption outside of the airline’s control, a large airline is required to rebook using the services of another (competing) airline, if the next available flight operated by them or an airline with which they have a commercial agreement does not depart within 48 hours of the end of the event that caused the disruption. If a large airline is unable to rebook a passenger on a flight leaving the same airport within 48 hours of the end of the event that caused the disruption, they have to book the passenger on a flight leaving another airport, if there is an option nearby.

SEATING OF CHILDREN: – Under the age of 5: In a seat adjacent to their parent, guardian or tutor. Aged 5 to 11: In the same row and separated by no more than one seat from their parent, guardian or tutor. Aged 12 or 13: Separated by no more than a row from the parent, guardian or tutor.

ENFORCEMENT: Airlines are required to follow the obligations set out in the regulations as soon as they come into force and could be subject to administrative monetary penalties of up to $25,000 per incident for non-compliance. In the event of an air travel-related dispute that cannot be resolved directly by a passenger and an airline, the passenger can make a complaint to the CTA.

You can read the full act here.

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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