With each travel season comes a wave of transportation-related problems. Flight cancellations, delays and route changes are bound to occur at any time. Most of us have experienced a bump to another flight due to no fault of our own. When these unwelcome changes occur, we are often left wondering what to do. The airlines seem to hold all the cards. Fortunately, there are some protections in place to help out. Learn what your rights are when dealing with an unexpected action by an airline.
The Basic Foundation
The average traveler doesn't even realize that there are legal protections in place. In fact, the airline industry is heavily regulated by federal law. This means there is a whole area of regulatory compliance plans intended to keep customers satisfied. These protections also make sure that the airlines act in a fair and efficient manner.
Some of the Applicable Laws
First, airlines need to give proper notice to customers. This means clearly displaying any restrictions related to the ticket purchase. Usually, a carrier will put these items on the ticket or an accompanying envelope. You should always check these terms when you receive a ticket. It will let you know where you stand in the case a change occurs.
Various types of terms can appear in the notice. Most airlines don't guarantee flight times. They should specifically state so on the ticket. Some companies will also not allow refunds. Others reserve the right to charge extra fees. However, for any of these to be valid, they must be part of a conspicuous notice.
The 24-Hour Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a 24-hour reservation requirement. The DOT created this rule as part of 14 CFR 259.5 and 14 CFR 259.6. These sections deal with a regulatory compliance plan related to customer service. The rule applies to any reservation made seven days in advance. It mandates that a reservation must be held at the quoted fare for a 24-hour period. This is true even if you have not made a payment yet. If you do choose to make the payment, you can get a full refund if you cancel within the 24-hour period.
Some people get confused by this rule and believe it doesn't apply to non-refundable fares. This is not true. Federal law explicitly includes restricted ticket classes under the purview of this regulation. Airlines companies may not tell you this upfront, but it is a right you have as a consumer.
Vindicate Your Rights
The protections listed above are not the only ones that exist. As a consumer, you have many rights that are meant to help you get a fair deal. If you are having problems with a travel related issue, contact a business law attorney that works in contract litigation. In Utah, Terry Spencer PLLC can help. Call the firm now to consult with an experienced attorney.