Insta-CoGo: Flight Cancellation Rights
If you're one of the tens of thousands of passengers whose plans are being disrupted because of American Airlines' flight cancellations, you're probably wondering exactly what the airline owes you -- since, after all, the disruptions were caused by the airline as it scrambled to make sure its planes met FAA standards for "airworthiness."
As I report in this Sunday's Coming and Going column: Not much. FAA rules state that passengers are entitled to refunds if flight schedules change "substantially," but that doesn't get you where you want to go. Other than that, an airline owes you only what it promises in its contract of carriage.
American's contract states: "American will endeavor to carry you and your baggage with reasonable dispatch, but times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed. ..... American is not responsible for or liable for failure to make connections, or to operate any flight according to schedule, or for a change to the schedule of any flight. Under no circumstances shall American be liable for any special, incidental or consequential damages arising from the foregoing."
On its Web site this week, American said it was "actively working to re-accommodate our affected passengers," and it added that customers stuck overnight "may email American Airlines customer relations to request information about compensation." Our colleague Del Quentin Wilber reported today that the airline said it was helping stranded passengers rebook flights on other carriers and giving them hotel and food vouchers. Small consolation for those stuck in airport lines all day.
If you're one of the thousands of passengers affected by this fiasco, tell us how the airline treated you and how long it took to get where you wanted to go -- if you made it there at all.
* Transcript: Carol Sottili, of the Washington Post Travel section, was online to offer practical advice to travelers who are confronted by the airline situation.
By K.C. Summers |
April 10, 2008; 12:14 PM ET
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