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Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) launches public consultations regarding airlines’ obligations to passengers.

As you may have heard, the federal government recently passed the Transportation Modernization Act, which requires that regulations be developed regarding the obligations an airline has when a customer purchases a ticket. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has accordingly launched public consultations to gather input from Canadians on this issue. Consultations end on August 28, 2018.

Specifically, the CTA is seeking feedback on issues including:

  • the communication of passengers’ rights and recourse options,
  • flight delays and cancellations,
  • denied boarding including bumping,
  • tarmac delays of three hours or more,
  • lost or damaged baggage,
  • the seating of children under the age of 14 years, and
  • the development of terms and conditions of carriage on the transportation of musical instruments.

The CTA has drafted a discussion paper on these issues, including reviewing how they are handled in other jurisdictions (The US and the EU), and this is available at http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/discussion-paper. A summary of the discussion paper is provided below.

The new air passenger protection regulations will ensure clearer, more consistent passenger rights by establishing minimum standards of treatment, and in some situations minimum levels of compensation that all airlines must provide. The regulations will also include updated provisions regarding tariffs (the terms and conditions associated with an airline ticket) and air price advertising.

Feedback can be provided by:

  • Attending an in-person session at major airports. Registration is required. June 18—Vancouver June 22—YellowknifeJune 27—MontrealJuly 4—Ottawa
  • June 29—Halifax
  • June 25—Winnipeg
  • June 20—Calgary
  • June 14 –Toronto
  • Filling out a questionnaire on www.airpassengerprotection.ca
  • Providing a written submission on http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/submit

Surveys will also be conducted with travelers at select airports across the country.

 

Discussed Topics

 Airline’s Obligation to Communicate Clearly

These regulations aim to ensure that passengers are aware of their rights and what their options are if they believe airlines aren’t respecting their rights.

Questions to consider:

  • What is the key information passengers should receive on airline terms and conditions of carriage and the recourse available to them?
  • How should this information be communicated?
  • What criteria, if any, should be established to help ensure that the language used to communicate is simple, clear and concise?
  • Should the regulations give specific direction on the format or length of information documents summarizing passenger rights and recourse?

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/communicate

Flight Delays and Cancellations

Regulations will aim to ensure there is a minimum standard of treatment of passengers in case of flight delay, flight cancellation or denial of boarding.

Questions to consider:

  • Should airlines be required to declare the reason for the flight disruption?
  • When and how should an airline be required to notify passengers that their flight is delayed or cancelled?
  • What criteria should be used to set compensation levels?
  • What would be the appropriate levels of compensation?
  • Should cash be the only form of compensation or should airlines be allowed to offer other forms of compensation? Ex. Travel vouchers, frequent flyer points, upgrades or complimentary tickets.
  • Should the standard of treatment vary depending on the length of the delay? If so how?

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/delays-cancellations

Denied Boarding

Denied boarding can occur for many reasons including bumping due to overbooking or operational changes such as the substitution of an aircraft. Regulations would set standards for compensation and treatment regarding denied boarding.

Questions to consider:

  • What do you think minimum levels of compensation should be in situations that are of the airline’s control?
  • What criteria should be used to set compensation levels? Should the length of the delay or the distance be used?
  • Should cash be the only form of compensation or should airlines be allowed to offer other forms of compensation? Ex. Travel vouchers, frequent flyer points, upgrades or complimentary tickets
  • If there are no volunteers, how should an airline determine who will involuntarily denied boarding? For example: choosing the last person to check-in for the flight, choosing passengers who have not pre-selected their seats, choosing non-connecting passengers, making a random selection or exempting unaccompanied minors and/or families travelling with children.

For more information on this topic of to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/denied-boarding

Lost or Damaged Baggage

Regulations will aim to create minimum compensation standards for lost or damaged baggage.

Questions to consider:

  • What should the minimum compensation airlines are required to pay when baggage is lost or damaged?
  • What criteria should be used to determine if a bag has been lost or damaged?
  • What evidence should a claimant have to submit to receive compensation for lost or damaged baggage?

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/baggage

Tarmac Delays

Regulations will aim to set standards airlines must follow in case of tarmac delays over three hours, including obligations to provide timely information and assistance to passengers, as well as the minimum standards of treatment of passengers that a carrier is required to meet.

Questions to consider:

  • What is the appropriate starting point for calculating a tarmac delay?
  • How frequently should passengers be updated throughout a tarmac delay?
  • What should be the minimum standard of treatment?

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/tarmac-delays

Seating of Children Under the Age of 14 Years

Regulations will aim to set standards for facilitating the assignment of seats to children under the age of 14 close to a parent, guardian or tutor at no additional cost.

Questions to consider:

  • How should “close proximity” be defined in the air passenger protection regulations?
  • What steps should an airline be required to take to ensure that its terms and conditions and practices with respect to the seating of children are made readily available to passengers?

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit:

http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/children

Transportation of Musical Instruments

Regulations will aim to establish standards in regards to the transportation of musical instruments.

Questions to consider?

  • What specific elements should an airline be required to address in its tariff provisions regarding the transportation of musical instruments? For example:
    • Carry-on and checked baggage requirement for small and large instruments
    • Cabin storage options
    • Additional fees
    • Requirement in circumstances of aircraft substitution that has space constraints for the instrument

For more information on this topic or to submit a comment visit: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/instruments