New passenger bill of rights-Artful deception

New passenger bill of rights-Artful deception by Transport Minister Marc Garneau

Here is my take after hearing of Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s proposed changes today to the Transportation Act that include enhanced rights for airline passengers, though many of the details will be enacted through regulations after the legislation passes.

Here are the main points:

1. Airlines won’t be allowed to bump passengers from a flight against their will.
There will be minimum levels of compensation for people who voluntarily agree to be bumped from a flight and if airlines can’t get a volunteer, they will have to decide if they want to up the ante to persuade someone to get off.

2. There will also have to be compensation for lost or damaged bags.

3. Airlines will have to spell out what they will do for passengers who are delayed due to situations within an airline’s control, as well as how they will ensure passengers complete their travel if they are delayed due to weather.

4. The bill also will prevent airlines from charging parents to sit next to their children if the kids are under the age of 14, and will have to create new standards for transporting musical instruments.
Seriously?!? Gimme a break!! This is not new.
If you have a look at Air Canada’s General Conditions of Carriage here, you will already see the following:
Airline flights may be overbooked, and there is a slight chance that a seat will not be available on a flight for which a person has a confirmed reservation. If the flight is overbooked, no one will be denied a seat until airline personnel first ask for volunteers willing to give up their reservation in exchange for a payment of the airline’s choosing. If there are not enough volunteers, the airline will deny boarding to other persons in accordance with its particular boarding priority. With few exceptions, persons denied boarding involuntarily are entitled to compensation.

Nothing is new folks..this is mis-portrayed news as enhancements when these provisions already exist but are not followed through for the benefit of the passengers.

However, there is one piece of good news from this announcement. The legislation also increases the cap on foreign ownership of airlines to 49 per cent from 25 per cent, and introduces new allowances for airlines to enter into joint ventures with international carriers to do things such as share marketing and scheduling.
Etihad – wink wink nudge nudge – this is where you need you pump your money instead of at Alitalia.