March 30, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

Abandoned passengers: Where is our charter?

Starting in 2019, airline customers in Canada must be protected by a charter. Minister Mark Garneau was too proud to go on his rounds of interviews to explain to us that when the said charter was adopted, there would be a “before” and an “after”.

Compensation can be given to the citizen aggrieved by delays, cancellations, loss of luggage, failure in service provided. Reasonable compensation amounts established by the government will guarantee compensation commensurate with the hardship suffered.

If they believed the promises of this charter, thousands of travelers who went through holiday hell would probably fall from above. I set aside the forceful cases. We understand that when weather prevents safe flight, planes must land and companies cannot be held responsible.

Filter charter

The list of reasons airlines use to deny compensation makes a mockery of the passenger charter. First, the carriers’ lobbyists have been effective in negotiating a nice list of exemptions, which gives them a leeway. Companies have wildly stretched the rubber band in the interpretation of these exceptions.

As a result, consumers in Canada are not very well protected. Our charter certainly has nothing to do with the security enjoyed by European passengers. Although our flight tickets are significantly higher than in Europe.

A very interesting example is the use of a defense argument that would be challenged in court in a class action. One morning, when all the required personnel in a company are not rested, prudence dictates the cancellation of the flight. Safety first. So far companies seem to be immune to this argument.

However, it is quite absurd to put understaffing (business management) and storm (storm) in the same category.Act of God)

My case

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I experienced the passenger charter myself in the summer of 2021. A last-minute arranged trip with a friend: five days of golf on Prince Edward Island’s unparalleled courses. A flight to Charlottetown on the wings of Air Canada.

We arrive at Trudeau Airport at dawn on the day of our departure. Rumor has it that neither the pilot nor the co-pilot returned. Canceled flight. At first we hoped and hoped that the flight would resume that day. No. tomorrow? No gap. Next seats available: Day four of our five-day vacation. Water travel.

The only solution is to cancel the trip altogether and fight for a refund for the accommodation and golf booking.

I made the sad discovery that the Charter did not protect me even in such a blatant case. To cover the damage, the carrier generously offered me a travel credit… on Air Canada Wings!