Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Porter ordered to pay for bumping

Porter Airlines has been ordered by regulators to pay cash compensation to passengers bumped from its domestic flights—joining the country’s two largest airlines which already offer such compensation.
The Canadian Transportation Agency has given the carrier, which operates turboprops primarily from its hub at Toronto City Centre Airport, until July 8 to detail the actual compensation.

Porter currently doesn’t have a compensation policy for passengers bumped due to over-booking from flights within Canada, but has provided a $500 voucher for future travel as a “goodwill gesture.”
Responding to a complaint from passenger rights activist Gabor Lukacs, the agency found Porter’s current policy was “unreasonable.”
Passengers are bumped from flights when airlines sell tickets to more people than they can transport, essentially “gambling with the passengers’ time,” the Halifax mathematician said in an interview.
“Yes, it’s something that airlines can do to you but they have to pay, there’s a price attached to it,” Lukacs stressed.
While Porter’s planes generally fly less full than its larger rivals, some early-morning or late-evening flights can be full, especially to and from its hub in Toronto.
Lukacs, who successfully has challenged the practices of various airlines, said he’s happy for passengers but wishes the federal government took a more active role in protecting consumer rights.
“I think it’s embarrassing for the government that a citizen has to do this on a case-by-case basis,” he said, noting that compensation for denied boarding is an ongoing issue that’s acted on in may jurisdictions, including the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Turkey.
“It seems as though only Canada is the place where, due to politics and political reasons, the air passenger rights bill is being voted down again and again by the Conservative majority.”
Lukacs called for federal regulations that easily can be understood by customers and which contain mechanisms for the CTA to hold hearings with sworn testimony before deciding on complaints.
In addition to cash compensation, the airline must re-book the journey on Porter or another airline. Alternatively, the airline must provide a free flight back to the point of origin if bumped passengers no longer want to continue their travel.

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