With airline travel so hit and miss these days, it pays to understand your rights as an air traveler. Rule 240 is an underused tool you can use to strengthen your travel arsenal.
Rule 240 essentially states the airline’s position should they be at fault for delaying your scheduled air travel. It is a holdover from before 1978 when airline deregulation came about, and as such is no longer mandated by the federal government. However, most major airlines still hold to at least some of their old Rule 240 standards.
Rule 240 comes into play when your flight has been delayed or canceled due to conditions that are entirely the airline’s fault and responsibility. Things like mechanical malfunctions, late flights, and lack of staffing for a plane are covered under Rule 240, but not things like weather or workers’ strikes.
Rule 240 usually covers the following (though not all airlines cover everything): getting you booked on the quickest flight to your destination (sometimes just their airline and sometimes another), refunds, meal vouchers, hotel vouchers and ground transportation vouchers. Not all airlines have the same Rule 240 standards so make sure you look over your airline’s policies before you travel. It’s a good idea to print out a copy of the airline’s Rule 240 policies and have them available in your carry on bag should your travel be interrupted or cancelled by the airline.
Here are a few links to flight contracts on a few of the major airlines:
Always be familiar with your airline before you fly. Knowing their policies can save you a ton of time and a ton of cash.
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