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Canada airports ban ads helping bumped passengers: ad company

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Montreal (AFP)

Canada's two largest airports in Montreal and Toronto have banned ads from a company that helps passengers bumped from overbooked flights to get compensation from airlines, the company's president said Tuesday.

Flight Claim posted billboards inside the Montreal terminal promising up to Can$1,800 for bumped passengers, as well as for cancelled or delayed flights.

But company president Jacob Charbonneau said the Montreal airport pulled the ads after only five days, while the Toronto airport outright refused to run the promotion.

"It is the duty of airports to display consumers' rights, or at least not to prevent us from doing so," an indignant Charbonneau told AFP.

"These are regulations, laws to which airlines must submit."

Flight Claim was founded one year ago, before public outrage over airline overbooking prompted Ottawa to introduce a passenger bill of rights in May. It offers to file compensation claims on passengers' behalf, for a 25 percent cut of the payout.

It recently paid in advance to have its ad posted at the Montreal terminal for two years, but Charbonneau said his advertising agency informed him airlines had "pressured" the airport authority to remove the ads.

Stephanie Lesage, a spokeswoman for the airport disputed that version of events, saying an error had simply been made in approving a "controversial" ad that risks harming a partner or customer.

Public outrage over the failed ad campaign, meanwhile, has turned out to be a windfall for Flight Claim, which has been flooded with queries from new customers since its predicament made the news.

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