Articles

Major U.S Airlines Passenger Rights

by James Haller Content Writer

You ran into some bad luck: your flight was cancelled and at the airport you were stranded. What could you do? If the airline caused your cancelation, then take a look at the airline's carriage contract. Those rights were specified in earlier days of airline travel under Rule 240 of the Federal Aviation Administration, which was replaced with the version of a carriage contract by each airline.



Look at the fine print on the flight cancelation policies outlined in the carriage contracts for the top five U.S. domestic flight airlines: American, Delta, United, Southwest, and JetBlue.

Carriage contract 

It would help if you knew what a carriage contract is before you dive into airline carriage contracts. It's just a deal between a customer and a carrier. Typically, the carrier applies to airline carriers but does include trains and public transportation. Carriage contracts usually describe passengers ' and carriers ' rights, responsibilities and liabilities, covering subjects such as fares, boarding, and what constitutes acts of God or force majeure. Airline control items generally include weather conditions, protests, civil unrest, embargoes, conflicts, strikes or stoppages at work, government demand, labor or fuel shortages, or any other condition beyond control or not reasonably foreseen.


The contract specifies what airlines will or will not do if your flight is canceled, amongst a litany of things. Sometimes passengers want to cancel their flight ticket before the cancellation, read the JetBlue Cancellation Policy and then cancel your ticket.  Although airlines are expected to have a carriage contract, it may not sometimes be easy to find or access when you need it. To cover yourself, download a PDF copy of the contract to your mobile or print it out just in case you find yourself challenging your rights during a journey ahead. If you have the information available it will be easier to put your case to the airline.

Rule 240 

Regulation 240 of the FAA predates the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act, in which the FAA allowed airlines with delayed or canceled flights to switch passengers to another carrier if the latter could get them to their final destination faster than the original airline. But it did not cover such things as weather, strikes, or God's acts.

American Airlines 

American Airlines calls carriage terms to its rules. In general, if your flight is canceled or if a delay causes you to miss your link, American will rebook you with available seats on the next flight. If you decide not to fly due to delay or cancelation of your flight, American will refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees. If Americans caused the delay, they could handle you with hotel accommodations.


"If the delay is our fault or you are moved to another city and we do not board on your scheduled arrival day before 11:59 local time, we will arrange an overnight stay or cover the cost of an appropriate hotel, if available."

Delta Airlines Cancellation Policy

Delta cancels the remaining ticket and refunds the unused portion of the ticket and unused ancillary fees in the original form of payment if there is a flight cancelation, diversion, delay of more than 90 minutes or causes a passenger to miss connections. If the passenger does not request that the remaining portion of the ticket be canceled and refunded, Delta must transport the passenger to the destination on Delta's next flight, on which seats are available in the service class originally purchased. At the sole discretion of Delta, and if appropriate to the passenger, Delta can arrange for the passenger to fly on another carrier or through ground transport. When space is not available in a higher level of service than purchased on the next available flight, Delta will carry the customer on the flight, while Delta retains the right to upgrade other passengers on the flight according to its upgrade priority policy to allow space in the service class that was originally purchased.


Like Americans, the airline may arrange hotel accommodation or ground transportation arrangements when a passenger's travel is disrupted for more than 4 hours after the scheduled departure time due to cancelation or delay of the flight. You may be eligible for a one-night voucher if the delay happens during the 10 p.m. period. By 6 a.m.

United Airlines Cancellation Policy 

The airline notes that the times shown on tickets, timetables, released schedules are not guaranteed according to United Airline's carriage contract. This states the right to replace alternate airlines or aircraft, postpone or cancel flights, and change or omit stops or connections shown on a traveler's ticket.


However, if a passenger's ticket is affected by "irregular activities" triggered by United, the airline must transport the passenger on its own flights, subject to availability, to the destination, next stop or transfer point shown on the ticket's part, without stopping in the same service class, at no additional cost to the passenger or arranging for the passenger to fly. United can arrange for the passenger to travel via ground transport, if appropriate to the passenger. In the case that a passenger delays an onward connecting flight on which space is reserved because the United was not running the flight due to irregular operations or a change of schedule, United is responsible for coordinating the passenger's carriage or making a refund. 


United also provides provisions for services such as drinks, meals, hotels and ground transportation for travelers impacted by the erratic activities of the United and a delay that reaches four hours between 10 p.m. Around 6 a.m. Central Clock Time.

Southwest Airlines Cancellation Policy

In the carriage deal, Southwest Airlines offers two options if your flight is canceled. You can get with space available on the next flight or get the remaining portion of the fare refunded. The airline states that its flight schedules are subject to change without notice, and there is no guarantee for the times shown on schedules, tickets, and ads.


The airline must take reasonable steps to transport its passengers to the final destination or provide reasonable accommodation in the event that Southwest diverts any flight. At times, Southwest may need to replace other aircraft without prior notice to passengers and may alter, add or remove intermediate stops. Carrier can't guarantee passengers can connect with their other flights. The airline should seek to alert affected passengers as early as possible in case of flight schedule changes or service cuts.

JetBlue Cancellation Policy 

As for JetBlue's carriage contract, travelers whose flight is canceled on the carrier have two options: you can get a full refund or, if it is canceled within four hours of the scheduled departure and the cancelation is the fault of the airline, travelers will also give the airline a $50 credit to customers. If the flight is canceled after the scheduled departure, passengers can receive a $100 credit for potential JetBlue journeys. As a JetBlue 24 Hour Cancellation Policy, they also provide monetary credit of $75 to $250 for future JetBlue travel if departure delays occur due to a "controllable irregularity" from 3 hours to 6 hours or more. If there are ground delays on arrival and departure, you may also be liable for monetary credits.


After a JetBlue cancelation, you will note that JetBlue will accommodate passengers on the next available JetBlue flight, but it will not accommodate passengers on other airlines again.



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About James Haller Freshman   Content Writer

5 connections, 0 recommendations, 23 honor points.
Joined APSense since, February 3rd, 2020, From Cleveland Ohio, United States.

Created on Feb 29th 2020 01:27. Viewed 376 times.

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