More Canadian travellers than expected have been stiffed by airlines over flight compensation. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has been deluged with more than 3,000 complaints from passengers in recent weeks, all centred around the issue of compensation for delayed flights.
These complaints work out to about 40 per cent of the 7,650 complaints involving all passenger beefs that the CTA received in the entirety of its most recent fiscal year.
The federal government introduced new regulations on December 15 that mandate airlines must pay up to $1,000 in compensation for flight delays and cancellations within the airline’s control and not safety-related.
At the time, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the rules would give passengers protections that are “clear, consistent, transparent and fair.”
However, the new regulations have led to confusion and frustration for many passengers who claim the airlines aren’t providing valid reasons when denying compensation.
The CTA has admitted that it doesn’t have the resources to investigate all 3,037 complaints as part of the inquiry, and that the remaining 2,467 will be dealt with at a later date.
The agency didn’t offer a timeline for the remaining complaints but said the inquiry’s findings may help in resolving them.
The problem is that airlines are managing to stall on the issue of compensation by attempting to interpret the regulations in their favour whenever possible.
Air Canada, which carries more than 50 million passengers annually, has stated policy is to abide by the new regulations and that it has devoted “considerable resources” to dealing with compensation claims.
WestJet, Swoop and United Airlines all said that they intend to co-operate with the CTA’s inquiry, while Air Transat and Sunwing declined to comment while the inquiry is ongoing.
The underlying problem is that the airlines have been allowed to design their own complaints process, and the need of the hour is for the CTA inquiry to new guidelines that don’t leave wiggle room for airlines to get out of paying a fair compensation.- CINEWS