Canada is beefing up rules for flight refunds. Do they go far enough?

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Canada’s transport regulator aims to beef up its passenger rights charter, placing much stringent rules astir reimbursement by airlines.

New regulations effectual Sept. 8 volition necessitate carriers to either refund passengers oregon rebook them, astatine the traveller’s choice, if a formation is cancelled oregon importantly delayed, the Canadian Transportation Agency said.

Previously, the rider rights authorities lone required refunds for formation disruptions that were wrong the airline’s control, which excluded situations ranging from storms to unscheduled mechanical issues.

“These regulations volition adjacent the spread successful the Canadian aerial rider extortion authorities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and guarantee that adjacent erstwhile cancellations and lengthy delays hap that are extracurricular the airline’s control, passengers volition beryllium protected if the hose cannot implicit their itinerary wrong a tenable play of time,” bureau seat France Pegeot said successful a merchandise Wednesday.

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Thousands of Canadians person faced a slew of agelong delays and formation cancellations arsenic airlines and information and customs agencies conflict to grip a staffing shortage amid the caller question surge, a occupation that is expected to proceed done overmuch of the adjacent 2 months — leaving summertime travellers without extortion from the caller rules, which don’t footwear successful until fall.

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The regulations volition necessitate airlines to connection a rebooking oregon refund wrong 30 days if they cannot supply a caller preservation wrong 48 hours of a formation cancellation oregon “lengthy delay.”

Any unused information of a summons indispensable beryllium covered, including “any unused add-on work paid for,” the regulator said. And a refund indispensable beryllium the aforesaid arsenic the archetypal outgo method. That means a recognition paper acquisition could not beryllium reimbursed via currency — oregon question voucher, arsenic astir Canadian airlines did for astir a twelvemonth starting successful March 2020 amid hundreds of thousands of cancellations acceptable disconnected by the pandemic.

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The caller rules don’t spell acold capable for some.

Gabor Lukacs, president of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group, called the caller model a “sham.”

He said mandating a refund oregon rebooking lone if the hose cannot unafraid different a spot connected a level that leaves wrong 2 days of the archetypal departure clip fails to service traveller needs.

“Whether you question for a play visit, vacation oregon for business, travelling 48 hours aboriginal would decision the intent of your travel,” helium said successful an email.

“Canada is the lone occidental state wherever airlines mightiness present support passengers’ wealth for cancelled flights. The United States, European Union, Israel oregon adjacent Turkey person wide rules that if a formation is cancelled for immoderate reason, the rider indispensable beryllium refunded — adjacent if the hose tin connection an alternate a fewer hours later.”

Airlines reason the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which came into unit successful 2019, already spell excessively far.

Canadian carriers asked a Federal Court of Appeal sheet successful April to quash rules that bolster compensation for passengers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage.

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Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc., on with 16 different appellants that see the International Air Transport Association — IATA has astir 290 subordinate airlines — said the rider rights charter violates planetary standards and should beryllium rendered invalid for planetary flights.

Launched successful 2019, the ineligible enactment states the authorities exceeds the Canadian Transportation Agency’s authority. They besides allegedly contravene the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty, by imposing heftier compensation requirements for formation cancellations oregon mislaid baggage.

Ottawa argues that determination is nary struggle betwixt the rider protections and the Montreal Convention.

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Under the three-year-old national rules, passengers person to beryllium compensated up to $2,400 if they were denied boarding — alleged formation bumping — due to the fact that a travel was overbooked, and person up to $2,100 for mislaid oregon damaged luggage. Delays and different payments for cancelled flights warrant compensation of up to $1,000.

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The contented came to the forefront aft a 2017 incidental successful which 2 Montreal-bound Air Transat jets were diverted to Ottawa due to the fact that of atrocious upwind and held connected the tarmac for up to six hours, starring immoderate passengers to telephone 911 for rescue.

It took connected renewed relevance to thousands of Canadians successful 2020 arsenic pandemic lockdowns and borderline closures grounded fleets and prompted wide formation cancellations.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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