Loading articles...

Nightmare vacation stories put focus on travellers' rights

A slew of travel nightmare stories have emerged in early 2014 with complaints of lost luggage, marathon tarmac delays, and travellers stranded at foreign airports for hours on end with little or no communication from airlines and travel representatives.

A Toronto woman is still waiting to be reunited with her luggage nine days after her Air Canada flight landed at Pearson Airport, and nearly 200 Sunwing passengers claim they were stuck at a Cuban airport for almost 20 hours without food or water.

Those are just a few of the stories that have thrown into question the rights of travellers when dream vacations turn into nightmares.

If you booked your trip with a package tour operator in Ontario, like Sunwing, you can contact the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) to voice your displeasure.

But TICO’s Dorian Werda recommends contacting your tour operator first.

“By all means if they remain dissatisfied they are free to file a complaint with TICO,” she told 680News.

The Canadian Transportation Industry handles complaints against airlines, but also advises trying to resolve any issue with your carrier first.

At least one politician thinks travellers need more protection.

NDP MP Jose Nunez-Melo tried unsuccessfully to pass an Air Passengers’ Bill of Rights that included a tarmac code of conduct that would provide travellers with fresh air, water, food, heat, and an opportunity to disembark when planes are stuck on the tarmac for extended periods.

Nunez-Melo says Canada is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to travel rights, and notes a marked reduction in delays in the European Union, where travellers can be financially compensated when flights are delayed.

With files from Irene Preklet, 680News

Your Rights when Booking Travel (Courtesy: Ministry of Consumer Services)

Your agent must:

• Promptly provide you with a receipt once you have made payment to your travel agency for travel services.

• Inform you of the terms and conditions of your booking, including any options for changing, continuing or cancelling the trip.

• Verify all the information in your ticket, voucher, itinerary, information or documents, before giving them to you.

• Advise you of any special entry requirements and what travel documentation will be required for each person travelling if you are travelling outside of Canada.

• Advise you about the availability of trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance, if applicable.