Bill of Rights for Airline Passengers

Aircraft passengers

Aircraft passengers. Credit: Public Domain/Unsplash

The controversial case of passenger bumping is still being condemned worldwide, and in the aftermath, federal Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, stated that a legislation which will address the rights of airline passengers would be in place later this spring. Although Garneau has not divulged any specifics, the proposed legislation comes as welcome news.

Flashbacks of the violent removal of Dr. David Dao, 69, from a United Airlines flight at the Chicago’s O’Hare airport poses concerns on overbooking of flights in the U.S. or anywhere else.

It is a common practice for airlines to overbook flights and bump off passengers. In the ambit of the government of Canada, there are details on the rights of air passengers on the website, but the legislation aspect is missing. A set of regulations which are indicative of compensation that airlines must pay on overbooking or when a flight is delayed or cancelled is not clear at present.

In light of the legislation, Garneau said that it would spell out situations where compensations would apply. He added that it would be fair and would recognise the rights of passengers while being practical for airlines. The Minister reiterated that this recognises the fact that when you buy a ticket to a flight somewhere, you will have certain rights.

The bill or rights would address the issue of what would happen when you are not given the service for what you have paid. Garneau highlighted that enshrining rules would minimise the situations of overbooking and of people feeling that they had no recourse.

The prospective Bill of rights is inclusive of a minimum payment for involuntary bumping, limits police from forcibly removing passengers, and places restrictions of bumping passengers for reasons like making room for crew members or premium passengers.  The proposal would also put in place aspects of suing airlines for delays, price gouging, or chronic late flights.

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