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Thanks guys :) Wahoooo!!

NEW Canadian air travellers’ bill of rights

at 9:50 - 21st, December 2009
A growing disenchantment with many airlines has pushed a private member’s Bill of Rights for air passengers before parliament. Incidents such as shoddy service, lost baggage, denied boarding, flight delays and questionable pricing practices have created a backlash of consumer dissatisfaction which the federal NDP opposition is leveraging.

The tipping point for all the furor came in March 2008 when two Cubana Airlines flights were diverted to Ottawa during a snowstorm. The combination of the snow, lightning and Cubana having no relationship with local handling companies meant that the 300 passengers sat within eyesight of the gate for 12 hours with little food or water and backed-up toilets. A similar incident with Northwest took place at its main Detroit hub in 1999. According to Northwest, even their aircraft handlers were stuck in the storm and the airport was operating on a skeleton staff.

Some of the highlights of the Bill call for:

* penalties of up to $1200 for bumping passengers with confirmed seats
* payment of $500 to every passenger on an aircraft stranded on the tarmac for more than one hour
* re-imbursement of fare in case flights are delayed by more than 5 hours – excluding weather related delays
* re-imbursement or re-routing in the case of flight cancellation

So, if a plane of 250 passengers is backed up on the runway waiting for clearance for more than one hour, the airline would be penalized $150,000 in compensation fees. On key routes during peak flying times, this could amount to millions every month – despite the fact that carriers have no control over such events. Traffic control, air congestion, airport scheduling, and third party handlers direct the safety of take-off and landing sequences.

In light of the hefty proposed penalties, the airlines have banded together and formed the National Airlines Council of Canada. The council is vehemently opposed to the Bill in its present format. Brigitte Hebert, director of the Council, told members of the Commons transport committee that the Bill is about “penalties not passengers and positions convenience above safety.” In effect, the “severe” penalties will have the unintended consequence of increasing fares and reducing service on many routes. Hebert also argues that the “most egregious flaw of the Bill is it discourages and will outright penalize airlines for ensuring the safe operation of the plane – imposing substantial liability on carriers when flights are cancelled or delayed for safety reasons.”


• vikie


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Alex Alex
News comment 1 | User comment 4902 | 11:42 - 21st, Dec 2009

if this goes through in it's current form i think the industry will go bankrupt. i'm all for change but this is a little too drastic no?

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