Airlines to pay up to $1,000 for delays

December 15, 2019 10:46 am
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Asianmail Desk

Travellers will be entitled to compensation of up to $1,000 for late or cancelled flights when Canada’s second wave of air passenger protection rules comes into force on Dec. 15, just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

The new regulations stem from an overhaul to the Canada Transportation Act, amended in May 2018 to standardize airlines’ obligations to passengers on any flight to, from or within Canada. Also coming into effect Sunday are rules around seating children under 14, with airlines no longer allowed to charge parents a fee to select seats next to their kids.

“Up until now, we haven’t had clear and consistent rules in Canada,” Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) chief executive Scott Streiner said in an interview.

Under the previous regime, each airline had its own long, legalistic tariff. That didn’t work very well, Streiner said, noting complaints against airlines have been rising since 2015.

“Passengers didn’t know their rights,” he said. “There was so much inconsistency.”

Airlines criticized the CTA’s rules — the International Air Transport Association (IATA), alongside Air Canada and Porter Airlines and 14 other carriers, even tried to overturn the rules in federal court — arguing the regulations were implemented too quickly, contradicted international rules and set compensation rates too high. The case has not yet been heard in court and, until then, the IATA said airlines will follow the rules.