WestJet must compensate bumped passengers, and its current policies are unreasonable and unclear, federal regulator rules

June 13, 2013

Halifax, June 13, 2013 – WestJet’s current policy, which states that “no denied boarding compensation will be provided” for flights to and from Canada with the exceptions of flights departing from the US, is unreasonable according to a ruling of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), released yesterday.

The CTA found that WestJet’s denied boarding policy was also unclear and contradicted other policies of the airline that were put in place as a result of the 2012 landmark decisions of the CTA on rights of bumped passengers. The CTA opined that “WestJet has been irresponsible” in leaving some of its policies unchanged following the 2012 decisions.

The decision, which upholds a complaint by Gábor Lukács, a Halifax mathematician and air passengers’ rights advocate, orders WestJet to revise its denied boarding policy by July 15, 2013.

Last month, the CTA upheld another complaint of Lukács, and ordered Air Canada to increase the amount of compensation it pays to bumped passengers on domestic itineraries. Air Canada was given until June 26, 2013 to propose a new compensation scheme.

In sharp contrast to Canada, both the US and the EU have denied boarding regimes requiring airlines to pay substantial compensation to passengers who are delayed due to bumping. Canadian airlines must follow these regimes only with respect to flights departing from the US or the EU.

The Canadian Transportation Agency is a quasi-judicial body that is empowered to regulate the airline industry.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Gábor Lukács

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