Here is another in our continuing series debunking the myth that Rule 240, which many airlines have in their contracts of carriage, is a myth. Rule 240, for those of you new to our blog, states that an airline will put you on another airline's flight at no charge if your original flight has been delayed or cancelled (in other words, you needn't wait for United's next flight out if, say, a Delta flight has space on it and is will get you to your destination sooner).
Some airlines will even put you in first class on another airline's next flight out if that's all that's available.
However, United has weakened its Rule 240 a bit, as near as we can tell, by eliminating the first class clause. Also, they've added language absolving them from adhering to this rule in case of a work stoppage.
Here it is, cut and pasted from United's web site:
RULE 240 (C) SCHEDULE IRREGULARITY
1) WHEN A PASSENGER WILL BE DELAYED BECAUSE OF A SCHEDULE
IRREGULARITY INVOLVING A UA FLIGHT WHICH, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS
RULE, FOR TICKETS ISSUED ON/AFTER SEPT. 1, 1992, FLIGHT DELAYS
EXCEEDING 2 HRS., OR UA CANCELS THE PASSENGER'S RESERVATION PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPHS A) OR D), RULE 135 (CANCELLATION OF RESERVATIONS) EXCEPT FOR CANCELLATIONS OF RESERVATIONS DUE TO A WORK STOPPAGE:
A) UA WILL TRANSPORT THE PASSENGER WITHOUT STOPOVER ON ITS
NEXT FLIGHT ON WHICH SPACE IS AVAILABLE IN THE SAME CLASS OF SERVICE AS THE PASSENGER'S ORIGINAL OUTBOUND FLIGHT AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE PASSENGER.
B) IF UA IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE ONWARD TRANSPORTATION
ACCEPTABLE TO THE PASSENGER, UA, WITH CONCURRENCE OF THE PASSENGER,WILL ARRANGE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION ON ANOTHER CARRIER OR COMBINATION OF CARRIERS WITH WHOM UA HAS AGREEMENTS FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION. THE PASSENGER WILL BE TRANSPORTED WITHOUT STOPOVER ON ITS (THEIR) NEXT FLIGHT(S), IN THE SAME CLASS OF SERVICE AS THE PASSENGER'S ORIGINAL OUTBOUND FLIGHT AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE PASSENGER.
C) IF SPACE IS ONLY AVAILABLE AND USED ON A UA FLIGHT(S) OF A LOWER CLASS OF SERVICE ACCEPTABLE TO THE PASSENGER, UA WILL PROVIDE A REFUND OF THE DIFFERENCE IN FARES PURSUANT TO RULE 260 (REFUNDS-INVOLUNTARY).
D) IF UA IS UNABLE TO ARRANGE ALTERNATE AIR TRANSPORTATION
ACCEPTABLE TO THE PASSENGER, UA SHALL REFUND THE FLIGHT COUPON(S) FOR THE UNFLOWN PORTION(S) IN ACCORDANCE WITH RULE 260 (REFUNDS-
INVOLUNTARY). [Note: What this means is that if your flight is cancelled or severely delayed and you're not going to make that wedding, business meeting, or funeral in time, then you can get a full refund]