New rules announced by CTA
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
Students looking to make the most of their summer vacation will be relieved to hear that the federal government is rolling out new regulations to protect air travellers.
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) explained in a statement that from July 15 onwards, airlines will have to communicate effectively to passengers in case of flight delays and compensate with a sum of up to $2,400 for bumping passengers for reasons within the airline’s control, such as overbooking. The airlines must provide clear guidelines regarding transportation of musical instruments and compensate travellers for lost or damaged baggage. Passengers must also be ensured proper treatment in case a flight gets delayed.
This is only phase one of a two-part series of regulations, with the next phase set to come into effect December 15.
“Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a statement. “After a long and thorough consultation process, I am proud to say these new regulations achieve that balance and will give air travellers the rights and treatment they pay for and deserve.”
Anushka Basantani, a student at Douglas College, shared her own air travel ordeal with the Other Press.
“It was in January last year when I was travelling to New York via Toronto. I was supposed to reach JFK around 11 am on Thursday,” said Basantani. “I landed in Toronto around six in the morning. My scheduled flight was cancelled due to heavy snow and then the next three rescheduled flights also got cancelled. I was at the airport for 15 hours after which […] I was given a decent hotel and two $10 vouchers for dinner and breakfast next morning.”
Basantani lost over a day of her New York trip due to delays.
While the second phase of airline protections covers compensation for flight delays—including providing up to $1,000 worth of compensation for delays and cancellations—such protections only cover flight cancellations that are within an airline’s control and that are not due to safety concerns. Weather-related delays and cancellations are not covered under these protections.
These baseline regulations and protections have been in the works for over a year and reflect the work of many hours of consultation with the Canadian public.
“Thousands of Canadians participated in the consultations that helped shape these new rules,” said Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the CTA in their statement on the regulations. “We’re grateful for their input, and confident that these ground-breaking regulations will help ensure passengers are treated fairly if their air travel doesn’t go smoothly.”