Agency Decision Orders Swiss International Air Lines to Provide Compensation to Passengers

Agency Decision Orders Swiss International Air Lines to Provide Compensation 
to Passengers 
OTTAWA, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ - In a decision released today, the Canadian 
Transportation Agency ruled on the reasonableness and clarity of the 
international tariff applied by Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss), and if 
it was properly applied. 
Today's decision is in response to seven complaints alleging that Swiss 
improperly cancelled on-line purchased tickets. Although the passengers were 
refunded for the tickets, the Agency has ordered the carrier to: 

    --  compensate one complainant for all expenses incurred as a
        result of the cancellation, by July 18, 2013;
    --  allow all other complainants to be transported on the same
        conditions, at the same price as the ticket originally booked
        by them, by June 18, 2014.

The Agency is of the view that passengers should be able to fully understand 
their rights and the remedies available to them simply by reading the tariff, 
which is the contract between the carrier and the passenger.

The applicable tariff states that Swiss reserves the right to cancel 
reservations and/or tickets with an erroneously quoted fare by reason of a 
technical failure prior to it being detected and corrected, and to void the 
purchased ticket and refund the amount paid by the customer and/or offer the 
customer the ticket at a published fare that should have been available at the 
time of booking.

In this case, the Agency concluded that the tariff rule did not clearly set 
out Swiss's policy with respect to the cancellation of tickets with 
erroneously quoted fares. Furthermore, Swiss did not properly apply its terms 
and conditions of carriage governing the cancellation of tickets as set out in 
its tariff.

On a preliminary basis, the Agency also found the tariff rule to be unjust and 
unreasonable as it was disadvantageous to consumers. The Agency is providing 
Swiss with the opportunity to demonstrate, by July 9, 2013, why the tariff 
rule in question should not be disallowed by the Agency.

A carrier meets its tariff obligation of clarity when, in the opinion of a 
reasonable person, the rights and obligations of both the carrier and 
passengers are stated in such a way as to exclude any reasonable doubt, 
ambiguity or uncertain meaning.

When considering the reasonableness of a carrier's tariff, the Agency strikes 
a balance between the rights of passengers to be subject to reasonable terms 
and conditions of carriage and the carrier's statutory, commercial and 
operational obligations.

The Agency has the authority to address the terms and conditions of carriage 
for domestic traffic on complaint and for international traffic on complaint 
and its own motion. In these contexts, the Agency has the power to suspend, 
disallow or substitute the terms and conditions of carriage.

About the Canadian Transportation Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent administrative body of 
the Government ofCanada. The Canadian Transportation Agency has a number of 
mechanisms in place and is helping to protect consumers by:
    --  resolving disputes between members of the public and air
        carriers through facilitation, mediation or formal
    --  working with air carriers and members of the public to ensure
        that they are aware of their rights and obligations;
    --  ensuring air carrier tariffs are compliant with Canadian
        legislation and regulations; and
    --  working with the industry to remove obstacles to transportation
        to the mobility of persons with disabilities by resolving
        individual complaints and by developing codes of practice,
        standards and regulations for accessible transportation.

For more information on dispute resolution for air travellers, consult  
theBackgrounder: Dispute Resolution for Air Travellers

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SOURCE: Canadian Transportation Agency

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CO: Government of Canada
ST: Ontario

-0- Jun/18/2013 18:54 GMT

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