January 31, 2008
Reader Tom writes in to let us know that American Airlines will no longer rebook you on another airline in the event of a delay or cancellation. He attempted to lay the old “Rule 240” on them and was told that Rule 240 had been changed to “Rule 18″… whatever that is.
(The old “Rule 240” was from the Civil Aeronautics Board, and stated that in the event of a delay, an airline had an obligation to rebook you on the next flight to your destination… not just their next flight. )
From American’s Conditions of Carriage:
DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS AND DIVERSIONS
American Airlines and American Eagle will provide customers at the airport and onboard an affected aircraft with timely and frequent updates regarding known delays, cancellations and diversions and will strive to provide the best available information concerning the duration of delays and to the extent available, the flight’s anticipated departure time. We are not responsible for any special, incidental or consequential damages if we do not meet this commitment.
When cancellations and major delays are experienced, you will be rerouted on our next flight with available seats. If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day, we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability.
In extreme circumstances, it is possible that a flight will cancel while on the ground in the city to which it was diverted. When this happens you will be rerouted on the next American Airlines or American Eagle flight with available seats, or in some circumstances on another airline or some other alternative means of transportation. If we are unable to reroute you, reasonable overnight accommodations will be provided by American Airlines or American Eagle, subject to availability.
American Airlines and American Eagle will provide amenities for delayed passengers, necessary to maintain the safety and/or welfare of certain passengers such as customers with disabilities, unaccompanied children, the elderly or others to whom such amenities will be furnished consistent with special needs and/or circumstances.
ESSENTIAL NEEDS DURING EXTRAORDINARY DELAYS
In the case of extraordinary events that result in very lengthy onboard delays, American Airlines and American Eagle will make every reasonable effort to ensure that essential needs of food (snack bar such as Nutri-Grain®), water, restroom facilities, and basic medical assistance are met. We are not responsible for any special, incidental or consequential damages if we do not meet this commitment.
Keep in mind, “Rule 240” isn’t an actual rule anymore… but rumor has it some old legacy airlines (not American, obviously) will still “Rule 240” you if you ask really, really nicely.
Source: THE CONSUMERIST