Ottawa to introduce legislation this spring that will address airline bumping

Ottawa to introduce legislation this spring that will address airline bumping

MONTREAL — Canada will introduce new legislation this spring that will address the issue of travellers being bumped from flights, the federal government said Monday, as the violent dragging of an unwilling passenger off a U.S. flight highlighted the anger caused by the practice.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau said bumping rules will be included in a passenger bill of rights that was promised last fall to establish clear, minimum requirements for compensation when flights are oversold or luggage lost.

Marc Roy declined, however, to say if the legislation will set industry-wide standards or raise compensation to levels offered in the United States or Europe.

Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said the “troubling” video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight highlights the need for greater consumer protection.

All airlines should be required to conform to the same compensation limits with thresholds rising to a maximum of $1,500, in line with the U.S, he said.

In 2013, Lukacs won a Canadian Transportation Agency case against Air Canada (TSX:AC) which required the airline to raise compensation to a maximum of $800 depending on the length of delay.

United Airlines sustained a public relations black eye when the video of the passenger in Chicago went viral on the Internet.

Rick Seaney, CEO of U.S.-based FareCompare.com said he’s never seen something like this.

He said there is no reason for airlines to over book with modern computer forecasting technology, but if a case arises, it should be dealt with before the plane is boarded.

He said airlines typically raise the financial incentive until someone voluntarily agrees to take a later flight.

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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