Air Canada

One person – two seats – in two rows?

One of my recent Well Mannered Traveler columns on MSNBC.com discussed the “tush test” Canadian airlines are asking travelers to undergo in order to take advantage of that country’s One Person/One Fare  laws.

So Gregg at FlightsfromHell sent along a  link to a story about a woman forced to purchase two airplane seats “for other people’s comfort.”

Unfortunately, the two seats the airline assigned her were not next to each other.

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Canadian airlines cram to obey obesity ruling

(Illustration for my column by MSNBC’s Duane Hoffman)

“You’ve dawdled this whole year. Now stop all that bellyaching and get on with it.”

That’s pretty much the message Canada’s Supreme Court gave to the country’s major airlines at the end of November. Now, after spending a year trying to weasel out of it with repeated court appeals, Canadian airlines are scrambling to figure out how to meet the January 10th, 2009 deadline for complying with “One-Person-One-Fare” policy mandated by the Canadian Transportation Agency, or CTA.

Its groundbreaking legislation that some hope – and others fear – may spread to the United States and elsewhere. So pay attention.

Under the new rules, which will apply only to domestic flights, Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet cannot charge more than one fare to persons with disabilities who cannot fly without the help of an attendant.

Few people will take issue with that.

What some folks are taking issue with, however, is the part of the ruling that also promises a complimentary second seat to passengers who are “determined to be functionally disabled by obesity.”

Find out what that means – and what several experts think it should mean – in my Well Mannered Traveler column posted today on MSNBC.com.

Bag the bag fee… new trend?

According to this note by Terry Maxon in the Airline Biz blog, in response to price dips in the cost of fuel, Air Canada is dropping the fees for checking a second bag beginning next Tuesday.

That’s good news and, hopefully, the beginning of a trend.

And those fuel surcharges? Well, you won’t see those anymore. But you will pay them: the airline is folding those fees into the airfares instead of showing them to you as an extra fee.

Don’t fire this Air Canada flight attendant

Like many other airlines grappling with record high fuel prices, Air Canada has announced flight and staffing cutbacks for the fall and winter.

According to an airline press release, “This will result in a decrease in staff levels of up to 2,000 positions across all levels of the organization.”

I hope one talented Air Canada flight attendant gets to keep his job. On a totally-packed Air Canada flight recently, I listened in awe as this flight attendant calmly reasoned with a very tense passenger who would not allow anyone to touch his carry-on bag in an effort to make room for other bags in the overhead bin. The passenger refused to move the bag himself and would not allow the flight attendant to do it.

After about ten minutes the still calm attendant “won” and quickly found a way to fit three other bags in the bin. He received a round of applause. And as he walked away I heard him tell another flight attendant that, given a few more minutes, he probably could have found “a much better place to shove that man’s carry-on bag.”

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