What happens if the flight you’ve paid for gets overbooked and you’re asked to leave?
Here in Canada, air travellers’ advocate Gabor Lukacs says you’re most at risk of not being adequately refunded.
He says airlines have all the control in how much money you get back if you’re bumped, because unlike other countries, Canada doesn’t have an Air Passengers Bill of Rights.
“In the U.S. and the European Union, there are rules, there are laws and regulations governing the amount that they have to pay you,” he says.
LISTEN: air travellers’ advocate calls for passengers’ bill of rights
“Here, airlines set their own rules as to how much compensation they are going to pay you if you’re bumped. A number of cases, airlines offer you only a nominal amount.”
Lukacs says during the years of the Harper government, ideas for that kind of legislation were defeated.
But now, he says those changes could be coming.
“Now what I am hearing is some rumours that the Liberal government may want to introduce such legislation.”
Changes on the way
In response to those issues, the Canadian Ministry of Transportation says it’s looking to introduce clear guidelines for Canadian travelers.
The office of Transportation Minister Marc Garneau says a new Air Travellers Passenger Rights Regime is slated to be introduced in the spring.
“The new Rights Regime will establish clear minimum requirements so that Canadians will know what their rights are and when they are eligible for compensation.”
They say new measures they’re looking to introduce include standards for compensation when passengers are denied boarding or their baggage is lost.
“This will create a more predictable and reasonable approach that will ensure that Canadians understand better what their rights are as they travel by air. This will be done in a balanced way that also ensures air carriers do not suffer undue burden and loss of competitiveness.”
While recent controversy may have brought this issue front-and-center, the Transport Ministry says this Rights Regime has been in the works for a long time.