Canada has passed a new law in the wake of United Airlines PR disaster involving the physical abuse of a passenger forcibly removed from an overbooked flight.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has introduced what many are calling the “Passenger’s Bill of Rights.” This new bill gives the Canadian government the authority to protect airline passengers traveling in and out of Canada. Under this bill, carriers will no longer be allowed to involuntarily remove passengers from an overbooked flight.
“I am convinced the air carriers will take note of these new measures protecting passengers rights, and will know if they don’t change some of their practices there will be repercussions,” Garneau said to the BBC. “If somebody has bought a ticket for a particular flight that person cannot be removed from that flight. This is non negotiable.”
Garneau said his goal is to treat people “like passengers and not numbers.”
Airlines would be required to offer a minimum compensation for everything from overbooked flights to lost luggage. The bill also protects how passengers are treated when a flight is cancelled or delayed on the tarmac for an unreasonable amount of time.
Canadian Automobile Association’s Ian Jack is a fellow advocate for the rights of passengers. He believes the bill is a great step forward, but its effectiveness will depend entirely on the small details. “There’s a big difference between the concept of compensation and whether you’re going to be offered a coffee coupon or $750,” Jack said. “That has still to be worked out.”
The United States and the European Union already require compensation from airlines that remove passengers from overbooked flights, but the do not offer protection from involuntarily removal due to overbooking.
After the assault on Dr. David Dao, Delta airlines has increased it’s compensation limit to $9,950 and United has followed suit with a compensation cap of $10,000.
If the bill passes, the new rules would take effect sometime in 2018.