The first wave of new regulations enacted by Canada’s federal government for airline passenger protections goes into effect tomorrow, July 15, 2019. The rollout is the first of two phases, the second of which will take effect on December 15, 2019.
The new set of passenger protection laws outline compensations required of airlines for failing to provide adequate services to their clientele. The regulations will apply to all flights operating anywhere within Canada, including connecting flights. This first set of regulations relates to flight delays, issues of denied boarding and lost or damaged luggage.
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Flight disruptions that are seen to be within an airline’s control—tarmac delays, flight cancellations, and denials of boarding—will require that compensation be paid to affected passengers, according to pre-determined governmental guidelines. Whether delays are within or beyond an airline’s control, certain standards of passenger treatment must be upheld on the part of the airlines, and it is the carrier’s responsibility to see that each passenger’s itinerary be ultimately completed.
Standards of treatment during delays on the tarmac include ensuring that the aircraft is kept properly ventilated, with climate control and appropriate temperatures maintained at all times, and that all passengers have access to public toilets. The airline will also be held liable for providing passengers with food and drink, as well as the option to communicate with those outside the plane—free of charge, wherever possible. Tarmac delays that exceed three hours will require that the plane returns to its gate to allow people to deplane, unless departure is foreseen within 45 minutes following the three-hour limit.
With few exceptions, the new protections will also extend compensation rights to passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding for up to $2,400 CAD (~$1,839 USD). Guidelines for such compensations will be based upon the length of time that a passenger is delayed from reaching his/her final destination, due to denied boarding:
— 0-6 Hour Delay: $900 CAD (~$690 USD)
— 6-9 Hour Delay: $1,800 CAD (~$1,379 USD)
— 9+ Hour Delay: $2,400 CAD (~$1,839 USD)
New rules will require that passengers be paid up to $2,100 CAD (about $1,610 USD) for luggage damaged or misplaced by air carriers on flights traveling to, from, and within Canada. Such passengers will be eligible to file claims beginning the day following the one on which they were meant to have received their bags, and up to 21 days thereafter for lost luggage. Those whose baggage was delivered, but damaged, have up seven days to file their compensation claims.
In December, phase two of the new passenger protections will also require an air carrier to compensate passengers for flight delays and cancellations, to be determined based upon the size of the airline. Carriers will also be required to ensure passengers’ arrival at their final destination, and in the same class of service, even if it means booking them on a competing airline. Other upcoming regulations will demand that children in specified age ranges be guaranteed seating within a certain proximity to a parent or guardian.
Airlines that fail to adhere to these new standards will be subject to fines of up to $25,000 per incident by the Canadian Transport Agency.