Canada To Introduce Airline Passengers' Bill Of Rights

The Canadian regulations were expected since 2016, before the April incident on a United Airlines flight which was filmed and quickly went viral on social media.

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Canada To Introduce Airline Passengers' Bill Of Rights

The new regulations would ensure the traveling public is "treated like passengers and not numbers."

Montreal/ Ottawa:  The Canadian government on Tuesday said it planned to adopt regulations strengthening airline passengers' rights that would prevent overbooking incidents like a recent high-profile case of a United Airlines passenger being dragged off a plane in Chicago.

Under the regulations, which would apply to all carriers operating flights into and out of Canada, passengers who buy tickets for a flight could not be forced off a plane because of overbooking, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said.

"Such incidents will not be tolerated in Canada," Garneau told reporters in Ottawa. "This is non-negotiable."

Garneau said the independent Canadian Transportation Agency would be responsible for drawing up the new regulations, which would create clear standards of treatment for cases like lost baggage and lengthy delays on the tarmac, while ensuring fair compensation for passengers who voluntarily give up their seats.

Canada aims to have the rules, which would require carriers to report performance data, in place by 2018.

Garneau also said he would consider approving joint ventures that allow two or more carriers to coordinate items like scheduling, pricing and sales on certain routes, and confirmed plans announced last November to relax international ownership restrictions on Canadian air carriers, lifting investment limits to 49 percent from 25 percent.

Shares in Canada's largest carrier, Air Canada jumped more than 4 percent in midday trading, while smaller rival WestJet Airlines Ltd rose more than 2 percent.

Spokeswomen for the two carriers could not be immediately reached for comment.

In April, Air Canada apologized and offered compensation for bumping a 10-year-old off a flight, prompting his parents to make alternative travel arrangements for the family of four.

The new regulations, Garneau said, would ensure the traveling public is "treated like passengers and not numbers."

The Canadian regulations were expected since 2016, before the April incident on a United Airlines flight which was filmed and quickly went viral on social media. A 69-year-old passenger was dragged from the flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members, sparking a global backlash against airline overbooking practices.

In the United States, lawmakers threatened United and other carriers earlier this month with legislation aimed at improving customer service, but legislators did not outline any immediate plans for increased oversight of the sector.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; editing by G Crosse and Jonathan Oatis)
© Thomson Reuters 2017


(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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