Airline passengers getting new protections

New air passenger protections kick in todayMore

You could be getting paid if you're bumped from a flight or your luggage is lost or damaged.

In addition, starting today all communications, including tickets, from an airline will have to contain clear information on passenger rights and how to claim them.

Phase 2, related to flight delays, cancellations and seating children in proximity of a parent or guardian, will come into effect on December 15, 2019.

The next wave of rights will include compensation for long delays and cancellations. A passenger could be compensated $2,400 if delayed longer than nine hours.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau spoke this morning about the air passenger bill of rights, which many airlines are still fighting.

Gabor Lukacs, founder of the advocacy group Air Passenger Rights, has argued that the new regulations still leave Canada well behind the US and Europe in granting power to passengers.

With an overbooked flight, for example, under the new rules, Garneau said: "We hope that if an overbooking situation occurs, that the problem will be resolved in terms of a cheque being provided to the person who was denied boarding, within 48 hours, if not immediately".

Along with this, airlines will be required to rebook or refund passengers when flights are delayed.

The issue came to the forefront after a 2017 incident in which two Montreal-bound Air Transat jets were diverted to Ottawa due to bad weather and held on the tarmac for up to six hours, leading some passengers to call 911 for rescue.

The new rules have been met with blowback from both industry and consumer advocates. With the first phase, starting today, travellers can receive up to $2,400 if bumped from a flight and up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage.

Passenger Mary Alice Ernst, en route to Chicago from Montreal with her daughter Monday, said the traveller bill of rights was a breath of fresh air. "And that obviously people recognize that some things are not within the airline's control".

Set clear conditions regarding the transportation of musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage. The compensation levels for smaller airlines are $125, $250 and $500.

Passengers will get to decide whether to take cash, vouchers or rebates.

"Although it's far from complete, we're pleased with the regulations implemented today and those coming in December in the second phase", said Christina Hlusko, President and CEO, CAA North & East Ontario. Now they're not so quick to respond to those needs.

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