Oversold flights a major factor in travel troubles, says passenger rights advocate
Ongoing travel troubles for air passengers across the country can be laid squarely at the feet of the airlines themselves, according to a well-known passenger rights advocate.
"The airlines have oversold their capacity," said Gabor Lukacs, founder of the group Air Passenger Rights.
"It is only in Canada where airlines seem to have gotten away with such a massive over sale of tickets, and not having to scale back on the ticket sales very quickly," said Lukacs, via Zoom from Budapest, Hungary.
Although post-pandemic travel has roared back with a vengeance, it's clear not everything's up to speed.
Some passengers on a flight from Orlando were furious Sunday night when they waited two hours for baggage so they could clear customs and go home.
Arriving later that night were Hilary and Colin Reeves of Moncton, who were delayed 36 hours in London, re-routed through Toronto, and stuck on the airplane for a time in Halifax.
They were still waiting for their luggage Tuesday afternoon.
"It's incredibly frustrating, and it's quite stressful really,” Hilary told CTV News.
"You buy all sorts of things that you want to bring home for your family, it's got all your clothes in it and what have you."
Don and Lynda Harry were at Halifax Stanfield International Airport Tuesday afternoon, heading home to Ontario after an enjoyable trip with friends to Nova Scotia.
They got a number of emails about flight delays, and then things got worse.
"And now this morning, we find out our flight is cancelled," said Lynda.
“So, we came to the airport, and we went to Porter and asked if we could get a flight, and we did."
The couple was scheduled to leave at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Lukacs insists travellers need to be ready to hold airlines accountable for issues he says they've created themselves, and seek other options in the meantime.
"I recommend passengers first avoid Canadian airlines," he said.
"Avoid Canadian airports. And if they do have to use those, then document what is happening, and then hold them accountable. Take them to small claims court.”
"Don't let justice pass without consequences."