Air Canada ruling didn't go far enough, French says
C.B.S. mayor says compensation for bumped passengers still small compared to other countries
A Newfoundland mayor says a ruling ordering Air Canada to give more financial compensation to passengers it bumps from overbooked flights doesn't go far enough.
The Canadian Transportation Agency ruled Tuesday that the compensation offered by Air Canada is unreasonably small. The airline currently offers $100 cash or a $200 voucher for future travel within North America.
The CTA says a more suitable amount would start at $200 and increase depending on the length of the delay.
Conception Bay South Mayor Woodrow French has been lobbying for improved air passenger rights for the past six years.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, but I also think leaving it up to the airline to determine the compensation leaves a big question mark," said French.
"In Air Canada's world, if they say they're going to give you a 100-per-cent increase, that's going to go from $100 to $200. In the EU, it's $800, and in the U.S. it's about $1,300. So again, there's still a great inequity there."
Bruce Galloway, a passenger at St. John's International Airport, said he doesn't understand why Air Canada overbooks flights in the first place.
"I think it's totally unwarranted," said Galloway.
"There's no reason in today's world, with the technology that we have, the way the booking procedures work, that they can't fill an aircraft and know from their experience how often there's going to be vacant seats that might otherwise be available."
Galloway said regardless of this week's ruling, Air Canada should increase compensation for bumped passengers.
"Given the fact that you're paying for your luggage, given the fact that you got airport fees, given the fact that you can't get a meal on the plane, they have a lot of nerve to not be paying people more."
Air Canada has 30 days to decide if it will fight the decision or establish a new compensation regime.