Rule 240 still the rule?

June 25, 2012
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. Does any airline still have a Rule 240?

    A. Rule 240 was a clause in airline contracts of carriage back when airlines were regulated by a government agency. It stated that, except in cases of “force majeure” (i.e., an act of God such as severe weather), airlines had to offer you any available seat on a competitor’s next flight out in the event that your original flight was canceled or severely delayed. Airlines formed after deregulation, such as Virgin America and JetBlue, never had a Rule 240, but most “legacy” carriers (American, Delta, US Airways, United, Continental, Eastern, etc.) did. Of the remaining airlines, only United and Alaska still have language similar to Rule 240 in their contracts. United now calls it Rule 24 and Alaska calls it rule 240AS. The only problem these days is that will so many airlines operating virtual monopolies at some airports, and flights being so full, there is often no alternative seat available on other airlines. To check if your airline has a Rule 240, see our recently updated list of airline contracts of carriage.