Monthly Archives: January 2010

New U.S. Passenger Rights Regulations Target Tarmac Delays

While it appears as though passenger rights legislation will not be implemented any time soon in Canada, regulatory changes aimed at enhancing airline passenger protection in the United States are scheduled to take effect April 29, 2010.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) published the regulatory changes on December 30, 2009.

The changes follow in the wake of a number of incidents of lengthy tarmac delays and an attempt by the New York State government to enact legislation in this area (the New York passenger rights law was struck down on the grounds that aviation is within federal jurisdiction).  In one of the most high-profile recent incidents, 47 passengers spent nearly six hours overnight on the tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota, with …

Keep reading

One Carry-On Bag Now Allowed when Travelling to the United States

The recently implemented carry-on luggage restrictions for passengers travelling from Canada to the United States were changed today by Transport Canada.  As of January 20, 2010, passengers travelling to the United States are permitted to bring one carry-on bag.  All items brought on the aircraft such as reading material, personal electronics and medications must be stored in the passenger’s single carry-on bag.  For the Transport Canada announcement, click here.  For information regarding permitted and non-permitted items, click here for the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority website.…

Keep reading

CTA Ruling on Allergies: Feel Like a Nut?

On January 6, 2010, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) released its Ruling on a complaint by two passengers who claimed that they had experienced difficulties relating to peanut allergies while travelling with Air Canada.  The complainants wanted an outright ban on the service of nuts onboard aircraft, as well as in-flight announcements asking other passengers not to consume nuts or nut products.

In previous decisions, the CTA has concluded that an allergy, per se, is not a disability but there may be individuals for whom an allergy is a disability.  The CTA decides allergy cases on a case-by-case basis.  An allergy to peanuts can induce a range of manifestations from itching and skin rashes to anaphylactic shock and potentially …

Keep reading

Liability Concerns for Commercial Space Travel: What If I Get Hurt in Outer Space?

In December 2009, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic unveiled a commercial passenger spacecraft to rocket wealthy tourists into space. The project marks a new beginning in the commercial era of space travel.  As space tourism takes a huge leap towards reality, one serious issue that arises is whether the existing liability regime is ready to support the increase in outer space activity and the corresponding increased risk of liability.

There are generally two tiers to the existing regime. The first tier is comprised of international conventions which essentially hold “launching states” liable for damage for the loss of life, personal injury or loss of or damage to property. The second tier consists of state-based (or “country-based”) legislation aimed …

Keep reading