Travellers may incur extra costs as airlines scramble to rebook them
Canadian airlines are scrambling to rebook passengers affected by the government's decision to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
With no Passenger Bill of Rights in place yet in Canada, travellers may end up incurring extra costs, said Flight Claim lawyer Ariel Thibault Roy.
“For the passengers that are stuck abroad, it's really difficult to find out what's happening. If they'll be rebooked, will they get hotel vouchers? Because every country has its own policy,” she said.
Air Canada has committed to rebooking passengers within seven days. WestJet said it will rebook you to your final destination or nearby.
“For now, since there's no Passenger Bill of Rights in Canada, it's hard to force the airlines to compensate or to provide vouchers,” said Thibault Roy.
Purchasing cancellation insurance can help protect you in the future.
In Quebec, there is a travel fund for people who booked flights through a travel agency, added Thibault Roy.
Passengers can receive up to $200 per person, per day – if they're deemed eligible.
Airlines will often show goodwill, added travel agent Tony Fragapane of Westmount Travel.
“From my experience, the airlines are quite generous with that kind of thing,” he said.
A federal Passenger Bill of Rights is currently in the works in Canada, which says airlines should bear some responsibility for cancelled flights.
Thibault Roy said, however, that if the first draft is any indication, the payouts to passengers would be low.