May 4, 2009

Canadian airlines devise bill of rights

Four of Canada's largest airlines collaborated to produce a passenger bill of rights in advance of a parliamentarian's move to impose one.

Under the lobbying name of the National Airlines Council of Canada, Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Air Transat presented the proposal to the Canadian Transportation Agency Monday, The Globe and Mail reported.

The new rights include such things as letting passengers disembark from an aircraft if it's stuck on the tarmac for more than 90 minutes, and airlines providing meal vouchers for delays of more than four hours and rebooking bumped passengers, the report said.

The airlines were unhappy with a bill in Parliament sponsored by New Democratic Party member Jim Maloway that was more punitive, the newspaper said.

Maloway recommended, among other things, that airlines pay travelers $500 per hour each if they have been locked aboard a delayed aircraft for more than an hour.