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30 canceled Swoop flights leave customers bitter. Will passenger rights help on Monday?



The abrupt termination of the 30 Swoop Fields during the first 10 days of July caused anger and confusion, with some customers paying for travel plans.

The new federal air passenger protection regulations to be introduced on Monday are aimed at reducing customer confusion by setting clear compensation amounts and accident treatment standards for all airlines. But the rules governing canceled and delayed flights will not enter into force until December. The regulations also face two court battles, including one of the airlines that are trying to revoke the law in court.

At the same time, the upset Swoop passengers started their own battles. So far, the Canadian Transport Agency has received 19 complaints about Swoop canceled flights.

The ultra-low-cost carrier, owned by WestJet, said the cancellation was caused by unplanned aircraft maintenance.

"Safety is our number one priority," said Swoop spokesman Karen McKayak in an email. "We are deeply saddened by the inconvenience and disappointment and continue to focus our efforts on helping affected tourists."

Radek Romanovski received his cancellation notice in the evening before his July 8 flight from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Hamilton. The second e-mail tonight informed him that he was recharged for flight on July 15th – a week later.

This was not beneficial for the small business owner who had to go to Comaco to work. But she could not call Swoop to complain – because it was Sunday and the call center was closed. He sent an email but did not get an answer.

"It's very, very bad business practice," Romanovski said. "Without communication, no conversation, no answer, nothing.

In despair, his wife, Hannah, used more than 22,000 Airplane awards to overwrite him on an Air Canada flight the next day.

"There must be better support or better service to bring people back where they are going," she said.

When Radek Romanovski's flight was canceled, his wife, Hannah, spent more than 22,000 Airplane awards to bring him home quickly to Comico, Ontario. (Submitted by Hanna Romanovski)

Kevin Blenkhorn realized that his flight was canceled when he and his wife arrived at Hamilton Airport on July 7 to return to Edmonton.

"I was not happy," said Blenkhorn, who lives in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. Svoop had recharged him on a flight that had left six days later, but Blenkhorn had to go home immediately to get back to work.

He found the next morning's WestJet-Swoop owner's flight to a total of $ 1,462 for two tickets at the last minute. He was surprised that WestJet would not give up the price.

"I called WestJet and they said," Well, we really have nothing to do with it [Swoop]. "

Kevin and Brenda Blenkhorn of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Flew to Swoop to attend a golf tournament in Ontario. The airport understood that their return was canceled. (Submitted by Kevin Blenkhorn)

Blenkhorn's new booking costs nearly tripling the price of the former Swoop ticket. Following the advice of a Swoop employee at the airport, he filed a complaint with the airline asking for reimbursement.

"While the money is in the bank, I do not rely on anything," he said.

What does Swoop have to do with passengers?

CBC News interviewed a total of four affected Swoop customers, each of whom said they were dissatisfied with the offer: restoring or re-booking a Swoop flight at a later date. These are the only options that the airline publicly lists in the complainants' tweets.

However, in order to cancel flights under its control, the current airline regulation – or tariffs – also lists another alternative: recharging passengers in another airline "in situations where other options are considered unacceptable."

CBC asked Swoop why many passengers were not offered to recharge another airline.

"We are following what is stated in our tariffs," spokeswoman Makkiyak said on Tuesday. "After recharging the next available Swoop flight, we work on a case-by-case basis with alternative route passengers if the planned new flight time is not appropriate."

Lawyer John Lawwood said that according to Swoop's written rules he could be left open for interpretation when he had to offer the affected passengers seats for another airline.

He believes the new Canadian provisions on air passengers will help eliminate ambiguity.

"This whole thing is designed to be comfortable for consumers, easy to understand, consistently, transparently," said Lawwood, executive director of the Attava Public Interest Advocacy Center.

Some critics, however, argue that regulations are not severe enough because, among other complaints, passengers in "small" airlines have fewer rights.

For example, rules allow small carriers – such as Swoop – to pay lower compensation and offer fewer travel options when flights are canceled.

But Lowford said at least passengers would have easy access to all the rules before choosing an airline and making a decision.

The battle of the law takes off

The regulations on the protection of air passengers also face several legal challenges.

On June 2, 17 complainants – including Air Canada, Porter Airlines and the International Air Transport Association – argued that filing regulations were "invalid" in a federal court of appeal because they are contrary to international standards.

Lawwood said the new rules will continue on Monday. But he fears that some airlines may refuse to comply while the case is in court.

"They'll hide behind their lawsuits.

All major airlines in Canada, including Air Canada and Porter, told CBC News that they will comply with current regulations.

Disabled Rights Defender Bob Brown and passenger rights defender Gabor Lukac also filed a petition to the Federal Appellate Court challenging the rules.

They argue that the rules that allow the delay of nearly four hours violate the rental rights as some disabled people may not be able to suffer such a long delay. They also argue that regulations abolish some existing protections for "hit" passengers.


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