Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My sister in Texas

13 August 2008

My sister Jenette, lives in Texas, in a city called Grapevine, near the Dallas-Forth Worth Airport.
She tells me that she's planning a vacation to San Francisco very soon.
Just wanted to tell her 2 things.

Firstly, go before 15 September 2008, Jen. That's when the (US) airlines will cut 15% of their schedules due to the high cost of fuel. This means less seats available and pre-planned schedules will be in jeopardy.

Secondly, to tell you about Rule 240.
Rule 240 is all about flight delays, getting bumped or having your flight cancelled. It affects only american carriers with flights originating in the US. It's something which most airlines will not tell you about but it's in the 'conditions of carriage' fine print which you would probably never read anyway. Knowing this rule would mean the difference between fuming at the airport and jetting away as scheduled.

Simply put, Rule 240 says that in the event of a delay or cancellation which is not caused by weather or for reasons which the airline has no control over, then they are obliged to put you on the next available flight out. Mechanical faults, aircraft arriving late, crew missing etc are reasons which the airlines are responsible for and for which Rule 240 applies.

Rule 240 also mean the next flight to your destination and not on their next scheduled flight. It can be on any other airline. Exceptions are airlines that don't have interline code sharing like Southwest, Jetblue, etc, so avoid these.

If this happens to you, simply ask for the supervisor or shift manager and tell him you are invoking Rule 240. It will be better if you asked for it and not demand for it. You can imagine the desk crew being harried by all the upset passengers about the delay or cancellation. A nice request will be usually be more receptive to the check-in personnel, who are empowered to changed your ticket.

So much the better if you can check the departing flights available beforehand and make a suggestion like "I'd like you to put me on the Delta that's departing in 45 mins". Remember, it need not be the same airline that you've booked on.

Of course, the airlines will try and put you off by offering vouchers, meals, or what not to keep the business. They'll be further obliged if you can prove you have a connecting flight to catch, even to an international destination like Singapore. They have to make the arrangements all the way to your final destination.

Happy vacation, Jen, and hope you won't need to 'Rule 240' 'em

1 comment:

  1. well, at least she's not flying out of o'hare.....thats like a sure-thing for delay....