Canada Unveils New Passenger Rights Laws

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Canada has unveiled tough new airline passenger rights laws that will entitle some passengers whose trips are interrupted up to $2,400 CAD in compensation. Transport Minister Marc Garneau unveiled the sweeping legislation that will be implemented in two stages on July 15 and Dec. 15. In the first round of rules, those who get bumped from overbooked flights will be entitled to $900 in cash or vouchers at the passenger’s option if the denied boarding delays them by six hours. It doubles to $1,800 for up to nine hours and $2,400 for longer than that. Also as of July 15, ramp delays are limited to three hours and passengers must have access to food, drinks, toilets and adequate ventilation during the wait. Airlines will have to pay up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage.

Effective Dec. 15, non-weather delays lasting three to six hours will cost the airlines $400 per passenger and up to $1,000 each if it drags longer than nine hours. That compensation isn’t automatic. Passengers have to claim the money from the airline and the airline has a month to explain why it shouldn’t have to pay. At three hours, delayed passengers have to be offered another flight. New rules will also require that children be seated either with their parents or near them depending on their age. Smaller airlines (less than two million passengers a year) will pay much lower compensation but the rules will apply to them, too.