Thursday, February 5, 2009

Canadian Parlament Passing Passenger Bill of Rights

While the U.S. can't pass any legislation to address anything meaningful, even in the middle of a recession, Canada is passing a passenger bill of rights.

Airlines that lose your baggage could be fined under a private member's bill proposed by a New Democrat MP to punish the companies for bad customer service.

Manitoba MP Jim Maloway plans to introduce his Passenger's Bill of Rights next week.

The main thrust of it is to force airlines to compensate passengers between $500 and $1,200 each if their flight is cancelled, if they are bumped off their flight because it was overbooked, or if they spend more than an hour in the plane on the tarmac.

But after hearing from colleagues and members of the public since speaking out about his plans, Maloway has added ticket prices and baggage to the list of punishable offences as well.

It would require airlines to advertise ticket prices with the appropriate taxes and fees included. Right now, most airline fares are advertised without those added in, and the extra dollars can sometimes add significantly to the total price of a ticket.

Maloway said he believes airlines should be fined if they don't provide passengers with specific and timely information about the whereabouts of their bags if they do not arrive on the passenger's flight.

Maloway said airlines can do a lot to make passengers happy simply by keeping them informed of delays, cancellations and baggage issues.

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