Air passenger complaints

Air passenger complaints in Canada triple in one year

Air passenger complaints more than tripled over the past year, soaring to a staggering 42,000 made to Canada's transport regulator as of this month.

Travel had a chaotic year to begin with, juggling post-pandemic surges in flight demands coupled with staffing shortages, delays, and uncooperative weather.

As of March 31, 2022, there was a total of about 13,400 complaints. Over the following 12 months, the numbers reached unprecedented highs of 36,000 in late January, rising by another 17 per cent since then, according to Canadian Transportation Agency reports.

Each individual case now takes over a year and a half to handle, and the backlog is only growing despite previous efforts of ramping up funding.

The regulator received an $11-million funding top-up in the federal budget last April. Last week, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra pledged another $76 million, hiring 200 more employees with the goal of expediting the processing time of complaints.

Alghabra also vowed to close a loophole in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which allows airlines to reject compensation claims by citing safety as the reason for a flight disruption or cancellation.

NDP transport critic Taylor Bachrach is also seeking to increase fines for airlines operating outside the rules and to make compensation automatic for travellers whose flights are delayed or cancelled.

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