New rules for refunds for air travelers

The Canada Transportation Agency (CTA) said Wednesday that new regulations, which will take effect on September 8, will require carriers to either refund or rebook passengers, at the traveler’s choice, if a flight is canceled or significantly delayed.

So far, air passenger protection regulations only require compensation for flight disruptions attributable to airlines, which have ruled out situations ranging from storms to unexpected mechanical problems.

These regulations will bridge the gap in Canada’s air passenger protection system highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that even in the event of cancellations and extended delays due to circumstances beyond the airline’s control, passengers will be protected if the airline cannot guarantee it. They complete their planned itinerary within a reasonable timeThe head of the agency, France Peugeot, said in a press release.

Thousands of Canadians are grappling with a slew of long-haul flight delays and cancellations these days as airlines, security agencies and customs struggle to manage staff shortages amid the latest wave of travel, a problem that is expected to persist for most of the next two months. However, the new rules will not protect summer travelers as they will not take effect until the end of the summer.

Regulations will require airlines to provide a rebooking or refund within 30 days if they are unable to provide a rebooking within 48 hours of a flight cancellation or too late.

Any unused portion of the ticket will be refunded, including Any additional services purchased but not usedsaid theOTC. The payment method must be identical to the initial payment method. This means that credit card purchases cannot be redeemed for cash or a travel voucher, as most Canadian airlines did for about a year starting in March 2020, when the pandemic led to the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of flights.

Airlines defy settlement

Although tightened, the new rules don’t go far enough for some. Gabor Lukak, President of the Travelers Rights Group, described the new A . frameworkJuggler.

Asking for a refund or rebooking only if the airline can’t guarantee another seat on a plane that departs within two days of the original departure time doesn’t meet the travelers’ needs, according to Lukacs.

Whether you are traveling for a weekend, vacation or business, traveling after 48 hours is against the purpose of your trip. »

Quote from Gabor Lukasz, President of Passenger Rights Group

Canada is the only western country where airlines can keep passenger money for canceled flights. The United States, the European Union, Israel and even Turkey have clear rules that when a flight is canceled for any reason, the traveler must be compensated, even if the airline may offer an alternative a few hours later.

For their part, the airlines argue that the regulations to protect air travelers, which came into force in 2019, have already gone too far.

Canadian airlines are opposed to the new regulations.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Canadian airlines asked the Federal Court of Appeals in April to repeal rules that boost compensation for passengers whose flights have been delayed and their baggage damaged.

Air Canada and Porter Airlines along with 16 other communicators, including the International Air Transport Association – IATA has about 290 member airlines – argued that the Passenger Rights Act violated global standards and should be repealed on international flights.

The lawsuit was launched in 2019, and says the scheme is beyond the powers of Transport Canada. It also goes against the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty, by imposing more difficult compensation requirements in the event of flight cancellations or loss of baggage.

Ottawa denies this

Ottawa stresses that there is no conflict between the Passenger Protection Rules and the Montreal Convention.

Under federal rules that have been in place three years ago, passengers must be compensated up to $2,400 if they are denied boarding because the flight was overcrowded and receive up to $2,100 for lost or damaged baggage. Delays and other payments for canceled flights require compensation of up to $1,000.

This issue came to prominence after a 2017 incident in which two Montreal-bound Air Transat planes were diverted to Ottawa due to inclement weather and held on the tarmac for about six hours, causing some passengers to call 911 for rescue.

La question a pris une nouvelle importance pour des milliers de Canadiens à partir de mars 2020, lorsque la pandémie de COVID-19, les restrictions de voyage et les fermetures de frontières ont entraîné des annulations massives de vols et ont cloué au flottes sol les Airlines.

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