Canada's New Airline Passenger Rights Take Effect Today, But People Claim They Actually Suck
Air passenger rights activists are arguing that the rules don't do nearly enough to compensate passengers.
The new air passenger regulations, which were announced last month, are officially in effect as of today. The rules give passengers more recourse when dealing with flight bumping or lost baggage, for example.
But though some have celebrated these new consumer protection rules, they have been met with derision from both airlines and air passenger rights activists.
Airlines argue that the new regulations go too far, while air passenger rights activists say that the regulations don't do nearly enough for passengers.
The changes include a compensation of up to $2,400 for flight bumping, and compensation for lost baggage.
In December, more changes to the air passenger regulations will take effect, including cash compensation for delays and cancellations and the requirement that airlines seat children near their parents at no extra charge.
One of the most controversial changes to the regulations is the rule that airlines are now allowed to keep passengers on the tarmac for up to 3 hours and 45 minutes — 3 hours total plus 45 minutes if, after 3 hours, departure is imminent.
Gabor Lukas, the founder and coordinator of Air Passenger Rights, argues that these rules are lacking when compared to other countries.
For one, Air Passenger Rights, a non-profit that advocates for consumer rights, argues that the 3-hour rule is "inhumane," and the group believes that "no passenger should be kept on the tarmac for more than 90 minutes, as the Senate recommended in March 2018."
Before the new regulations came into effect, airlines could only keep passengers on the tarmac for up to 90 minutes.
A court case is currently challenging this rule. Disability
rights advocate and quadriplegic Bob Brown says that this rule significantly reduces the distance he can safely travel.
The group also argues that receiving compensation for flight bumping and lost baggage is extremely difficult. This is because the passenger has to prove that it is the airline's fault, and this is no easy feat.
It is much easier to receive compensation for these travel mishaps in the EU, for example.
Nevertheless, other groups are celebrating the new regulations as an step forward for passenger rights.
More information is sure to come as the rules come into effect.