Travelling with kids can be rewarding and fun—but it can also be a major source of stress, compounded by airport security, confusing airline policies, and infuriating extra fees that seem like simple cash grabs.
One fee that’s long infuriated parents is the extra charge for seat selection, which means that parents often have to cough up extra dough to be guaranteed a seat next to their child.
It’s a practice that could soon be illegal, if Transportation Minister Marc Garneau has his way.
It’s all part of a proposed bill, put forth by the Minister on Tuesday. The ‘passenger bill of rights’, aka Bill C 49, is inspired by the infamous United airlines incident, where a man who refused to give up his seat was forcibly removed from the plane and injured in the process.
‘We have all heard recent news reports of shoddy treatment of air passengers,’ Garneau said at a news conference. ‘Such incidents will not be tolerated in Canada. When Canadians buy an airline ticket, they expect the airline to keep its part of the deal.’
The new legislation offers passengers certain guarantees and clarifies some (as Garneau called them) ‘opaque rules’.
Under the new legislation, if a child is under 14 years of age, there can be no extra fee for making sure they are seated next to their parent or legal guardian.
Other notable good news in the bill: passengers cannot be involuntarily bumped from a flight due to overcrowding. Airlines will simply have to keep sweetening the pot until someone volunteers. (The bill also sets a minimum compensation level for volunteers.) Additionally, standards will be set for the transportation of musical instruments, and there will be some compensation for lost or damaged bags.
Here’s hoping the bill passes.
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