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Airlines Still Willing To Fly Customers On Competitors

By Expert Author: www.cheapfares.com

Little is more frustrating than initially reviewing your cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, only to learn once you arrive at the airport that your flight has been cancelled and you are facing major delays before being placed on another flight.

Before 1978 all U.S. airlines were required to offer transportation on a competitor’s next flight if that flight would get the passenger to his destination sooner because of a delayed or cancelled flight. Airlines were even required to place coach class customers in first class if only a first class seat was available.

Rule 240 mandated by the now defunct Civil Aeronautics Board was incorporated in all airlines’ contracts of carriage. Only “Acts of God” (such as inclement weather) were exempt from this rule.

Because airlines are no longer required to follow this rule, most airlines have ceased putting passengers on competitors’ flights when their own flights have been delayed extensively or cancelled due to mechanical problems. Their passenger contracts have been revised to exclude Rule 240.

The good news is that three airlines continue to include Rule 240 in their contracts: Alaska, Frontier, and United. If an airline employee from any of these airlines refuses to place you on a competitors’ flight when unable to find you a seat on a soon departing flight to the same destination, then you should remind the employee that its passenger contract includes Rule 240 and request to speak to a supervisor, if necessary.

Alaska is the only one of these airlines that still includes language in its contract promising to place passengers in a higher class of service than what was paid for if that is all that is available.

The problem these days with planes flying so full is that often there are not open seats on other airlines, particularly ones that will deliver a passenger to his or her destination faster than the next available flight on the original airline.

In United’s definition of “force majeure” (“Acts of God”) exclusion includes mention of a “shortage of labor” which means that the airline would not be responsible for putting passengers on a competitors flights if a crew did not show up for a flight because their inbound flight was late.

Even if the airline you are flying on no longer includes Rule 240 in its passenger contract, customers would be well advised to ask airline representatives if they can be placed on another airline in the event that the next available flight on the original airline involves an extensive delay.

Even airlines not required to do so by their passenger contracts, when so inclined, routinely place passengers on competitors’ flights if there is space available. Given that such moves are up to the discretion of airline personnel, fliers should ask as humbly and nicely as possible.

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