Hanni Says Some Aspects Of Measure Stronger Than Stalled
The founder of a group dedicated to seeing a passengers bill of
rights come to fruition for US flyers commended the Canadian
government Thursday on its efforts to enact just such a
As ANN reported Friday, Canada's "Flight
Rights" program builds on a 2007 amendment to the Canada
Transportation Act that requires domestic airlines to prominently
display terms and conditions of carriage at their business offices
and on their websites. The measure also creates an informal
complaints process within the Canadian Transportation Agency.
Critics to Canada's plan says it doesn't go far enough... but
Kate Hanni, founder of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers'
Bill of Rights, notes the Canadian measure is more comprehensive
than even the European Union regulations, and specifically
addresses "strandings" by allowing passengers to deplane after a 90
minute tarmac delay, with the option to re-board the plane.
"If it's good enough for Canada, why isn't it good enough for
America?" asked Hanni, adding she assisted Woodrow French -- the
Mayor of Town of Conception Bay South, who first proposed the bill
-- and House of Commons officials on background for the bill. "Now
it is time for Congress to act!"
Hanni said that under the new law, Canadian airlines will also
be required to provide stranded travelers with updated flight delay
and schedule change information, and meal and hotel vouchers for
extended delays of four and eight hours respectively.
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon announced the program,
nicknamed "Flight Rights" at a press conference in Ottawa earlier
this week. The bill received unanimous support in the House of
"The House of Commons has 308 members. Our Senate has 100.
Canada was able to get 308 members to agree on a common sense law
to protect their flying public in less than eight months. Our
coalition has been working with Congress for sixteen months, and we
can't even get a majority to agree. This underscores the degree of
partisan politics and the enormous influence of big airlines with
deep pockets on our system," said Hanni.
Passengers' rights legislation has been stalled in Congress
primarily due to disagreements among members on funding for air
traffic control modernization and related programs. Most of that
legislation gives the airlines up to three hours to give passengers
the right to deplane -- twice the 90 minutes now required by the