If you’ve heard of this form of travel called “flying” that humans tend to do in large metal cylinders, you’ve probably heard a story or two about a bad experience doing it. Traveling is difficult enough without the added stresses we’ve seen way too much of lately, like passengers being kicked off overbooked flights and people not being able to get refunds for flights they can’t make. Flying kind of seems like a nightmare right now.
Well, who’s supposed to protect us when the big bad companies are taking advantage of us poor citizens? No, not Superman (although, we doubt he would lose our luggage). The Canadian government. Yup, looks like the feds are coming through for us.
The House of Commons tabled an Air Passenger Bill of Rights this week and it looks like it will protect us from a bunch of those dirty airline tricks and even a few simple inconveniences. This legislation comes from the CAA (they don’t just cover automobile travel apparently) which has been advocating for clearer and easier to understand guidelines for airlines and passenger rights for years now.
The bill is focused on transparency and would require airlines to make public their numbers of bumped passengers, on-time performance and lost luggage. The idea is that by having to disclose those numbers, airlines will have more incentive to keep them low. So start taking your bets now on how many suitcases Air Canada loses in a year.
More importantly, there are some direct changes we’ll see if this bill goes through, starting with that whole charging-people-more-money-to-pick-their-seat thing. Parents will no longer have to pay extra to have a seat next to their kids anymore. That one was just unfair.
Also included in the bill is the need for better and clearer compensation for passengers bumped from overbooked flights. It looks like no one, not even the attendants, are sure exactly how to compensate people for having to take a later flight. This bill would clearly lay out what an airline is required to offer a bumped passenger and it looks like the government is going to sweeten the deal a little too.
So here’s an instance of the government really fighting for us and it feels fantastic. Hopefully we’ll be seeing these changes in the next few years and flying will get a whole lot less stressful for all of us.