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First phase of airline passenger 'bill of rights' comes into effect
Published Monday, July 15, 2019 9:56AM EDT Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2019 6:11PM EDT
The skies are supposed to get a little friendlier for Canadian flyers on Monday.
That’s when the first part of the new air passenger bill of rights comes into effect. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau formally launched the new protections with a press conference at Trudeau Airport.
The first phase of the new regulations will require airlines to compensate passengers who are bumped from flights for reasons that are within the airlines control up to $2,400. Passengers whose luggage is lost or damaged will also be eligible for compensation up to $2,100 and refunds.
Airlines will also be required to follow certain protocols during tarmac delays and allow passengers to leave planes if, after a three-hour delay, takeoff is not imminent.
The bill was sparked by a 2017 incident in which a Montreal-bound plane was forced to land in Ottawa, with passengers stuck in the plane on the tarmac for six hours with no food or air conditioning.
A group of airlines including Air Canada and Porter have filed a lawsuit in the federal Court of Appeals, claiming the compensation is too arbitrary and unrelated to actual damages suffered by affected passengers.
"I was surprised and a bit disappointed that the airlines are challenging something which is fundamenal, which is passengers' rights," said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. "It will be before the courts so I'm not going to comment about it any further but we feel we have done our homework very carefully in consultation with the airlines and other stakeholders and we feel the passengers' rights we put in place are going to stand up and are very fair to both the passengers and the airlines."
The second phase of the bill of rights comes into effect in December, which will include compensation of up to $1,000 for passengers delayed over nine hours.
- With files from The Canadian Press