Canada's new airline passenger bill of rights says airlines can't kick people off overbooked flights
Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced Tuesday that a new bill of rights for airline passengers will include regulations against removing travelers from an overbooked flight, the Associated Press reported.
If an airline overbooks and can't get volunteers, they will have to increase the compensation offered until they get some, Garneau said: They are not permitted to remove passengers who have purchased a ticket on any domestic or international flight departing from or heading to Canada because of overbooking.
The new regulations, which are being drawn up by the Canadian Transportation Agency, Reuters reports, will also cover standards regarding how passengers are treated during long delays and lost baggage issues, and may allow more joint ventures between airlines in an effort to prevent overbooking in the first place.
The goal is to treat people “like passengers and not numbers,” Garneau said.
This is not the first time since Dao's mistreatment went public that the minister has spoken up on behalf of fliers. In April, he reminded Canada that legislation (first announced last year) was coming to protect passengers' rights in a strongly-worded letter that read: “When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfill its part of the transaction. When that agreement is not fulfilled, passengers are entitled to clear, transparent and enforceable compensation.”
No such federal regulations have yet been announced in the United States, in spite of prodding from lawmakers following the United controversy, though individual airlines have taken action. Southwest Airlines announced in April it would stop overbooking flights altogether, which was already the case at JetBlue.