Fascinating facts from US Airways' Contract of Carriage

George Hobica, November 01, 2007
Fares from Washington DC:

    Although another airfare web site recently called Rule 240 a myth, all you smart airfare watchdoggies know that it simply ain't so. Rule 240, and a lot of other rules, do exist in some airlines' contracts of carriage. This is the first installment looking at major airlines' contracts and cutting and pasting the relevant passages from those contracts pertaining to what they will or will not do for you, under their own rules, when your flight is cancelled or delayed. (See our previous posting about Rule 240.)

    I've copied directly from their sites, with notation as needed.

    We'll be adding more airlines as time allows.

    But let's start with US Air. This airline has stripped the traditional Rule 240 and all the other rules from its contract, but has some similar language. It's purposely vague. However, they're one of the few airlines that spell out their obligations under European Economic Community regulations for nonstop flights from Europe. In fact, if your nonstop US Air flight from Europe to the US is more than 4 hours late, they'll pay you up to $900. Of course, they may try to wiggle out of this if the delay is "beyond their control," but we don't see that spelled out in writing. And they'll try to give you a voucher for future travel instead of cash, but you'd be foolish to take it.

    And we quote:

    IX. DELAYED AND CANCELED FLIGHTS
     
    US Airways’ Responsibility for Schedules and Operations
     
    US Airways undertakes to use its best efforts to transport the customer and baggage with reasonable dispatch. Times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of the terms of  transportation. US Airways may [MAY] substitute alternate carriers or aircraft and may alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket in case of necessity. Schedules are subject to change without notice. [THIS IS THE WEAKEST "RULE 240's" IN THE BUSINESS]


    US Airways is not responsible or liable for making connections, or for failing to operate any flight according to schedule, or for changing the schedule of any flight.
     

    [BUT IT GETS BETTER FOR EUROPE TO US NONSTOP FLIGHTS]


    Involuntary - US Airways will offer one of the following types of compensation to customers denied boarding involuntarily on nonstop flights from Europe:
     Customers reaccommodated on flights scheduled to arrive less than four hours after the scheduled arrival time of the original flight will be offered a transferable voucher for one free roundtrip coach class ticket on US Airways within the U.S., including Alaska or Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean islands, Bermuda, Mexico, Latin America or Europe, or cash compensation in the amount of 300 EUR (or USD equivalent). [TAKE THE CASH! THIS IS ALMOST $450 AND EASIER TO SPEND THAN A COUPON]
     

    Customers reaccommodated on flights scheduled to arrive more than four hours after the scheduled arrival time of the original flight will be offered a transferable voucher for one free roundtrip coach class ticket on US Airways within the U.S., including Alaska or Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean islands, Bermuda, Mexico, Latin America or Europe, or cash compensation in the amount of 600 EUR (or USD equivalent). [THIS IS ALMOST $900. TAKE THE CASH!]

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