The Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the United States is raising the cost of travel by implementing an amendment to a passenger security fee, which could go into effect as early as July 21st. And here in Canada, the Canadian Transport Agency (CTA) has given Porter Airlines until July 8 to iron out a compensation plan for passengers bumped off flights due to overbooking.
While Air Canada and WestJet have already been mandated to reasonably reimburse domestic passengers in the event of an overbooking resulting in a “bump” or an airline re-booking of a flight, Porter Airlines has, until now, gotten away with offering their customers a goodwill gesture of $500CAD in the form of a future travel voucher for involuntarily taking a flight other than they’ve booked. Last year, Air Canada was ordered to compensate bumped passengers between $200 and $800 in cash or triple the amount in future travel vouchers, and Porter’s awaited policy is expected to fall in line with the industry standard, creating an even playing field. The level of compensation will be based on the length of the delay to the passenger created by the airline and would also include a free flight back (to the point of origin) if one is stranded in a connecting city and the delay created is unsuitable to the traveller.
Protecting passengers is also in the news south of the border, albeit in a different sense, as the mandatory security fee charged on each ticket is set to take a hike. Currently, anyone travelling to or through the U.S. pays a passenger security charge of $2.50USD, per leg, capped at $5 on a one-way ticket, doubled on a return ticket. Under the newly proposed increase, passengers would instead be charged $5.60 per flown segment, with no cap, equating to an overall increase of up to 5% of a total ticket price. These fees are a part of the total tax paid on a ticket and affect all carriers to again, create an even playing field. Hurt most by the tax spike would be frequently flying business travellers or those living outside of a hub city, requiring connecting flights to get to their destination. The TSA estimates the new revenue could generate as much as $17 billion dollars annually which would go back into maintaining and upgrading current security systems throughout the United States.
So, in short, as of July 8, Porter Airlines passengers will have rights to better compensation and if your summer plans include flying to or through the United States, buy your ticket before July 21st to avoid paying more tax.