A Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop operated by WestJet preparing to land at Vancouver International Airport. The airline has announced increased daily service on their Nanaimo-Calgary and Nanaimo-Vancouver routes beginning Aug. 14 and Oct. 28. The additional routes are seasonal and will end in late April. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Transportation watchdog launches inquiry after WestJet bumps passengers

Airlines have no obligation to pay customers for delays or cancellations considered out of its control

Canada’s transportation watchdog is launching an inquiry into how WestJet Airlines Ltd. handles its passengers during schedule changes after an incident last month saw travellers bumped without compensation.

The Canadian Transportation Agency says the probe into WestJet’s tariff — its contract with customers — follows a complaint after a Canadian couple en route to Italy were bumped from their flight out of Edmonton.

According to media reports, WestJet told the pair they were not entitled to compensation because the incident amounted to a “flight delay” rather than a “denial of boarding.”

ALSO READ: New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Under Canada’s passenger bill of rights — partially implemented on July 15, a week before the flight — airlines have no obligation to pay customers for delays or cancellations considered out of its control. Delays within its control many not require compensation until Dec. 15, when the second phase of regulations comes into force.

Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says the incident underscores loopholes in the new rights regime — maybe more so than WestJet’s tariff — adding that it is unfortunate it took a media report to prompt the inquiry.

The agency says it has directed WestJet to provide information and will decide on next steps after it is received.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery has ceased spirits operations and has produced over 3,000 litres of sanitizer since March 26

Fur Brigade Trail was transportation route in Okanagan Valley

Transportation corridor passed through Nicola Prairie, now Summerland

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in Penticton house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

Summerland churches go online during COVID-19 pandemic

Livestream services, online support provided to congregations and community

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

Vehicle goes up in smoke in Okanagan garage

Fire department on-scene in 200 block of Poplar Point Drive near Knox Mountain in Kelowna

COSAR rescues two lost hikers from Okanagan Mountain Park

Two male hikers were overdue from a hike they left for on the morning of March 28

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

Okanagan women spending quarantine making masks

Group at Predator Ridge, and a colleague in Vernon, keeping busy making surgical masks for others

Most Read