When it comes to airline ticket rules, know your rights. Learn how to gain an edge for better pricing on airlines, get refunds, and deal with lost tickets.
The first of the airline ticket rules to know is that there are two ultimately important documents when it comes to airlines. The first is the Contract of Carriage that outlines the agreement passengers sign with an airline when they purchase a ticket. The second is the airline passenger service manual, normally a secret document, which tells airline workers what they can and cannot do for passengers. Between these two documents, airline passengers’ fate is defined.
1. Contract of Carriage
DOT rules require airlines to post their Contract of Carriage on their website and to make it available to passengers during travel on their websites, at ticket offices and at airports. We will dig into these in more depth.
A written contract between a passenger and an airline is created every time a ticket is purchased. The Contract of Carriage is available to every passenger on demand and serves as the basis for all customer service from the time of airline ticket purchase through the end of the trip.
Do not assume the Contract Terms for United Airlines are the same as those for United Express. Contract Terms for “Express” divisions of airlines, such as United Express (in effect independent regional airlines), are significantly different from the parent airline. They include provisions such as check-in deadlines, limits on liability for lost baggage, responsibility for delayed flights, and many other considerations.
2. Passenger service manual
The most important guidelines when it comes to what airlines can or cannot do for passengers is found in an airline’s passenger service manual. Every customer service representative studies these pages and the frequent updates to them. Depending on the airline, these manuals are either guidelines about how customers are to be treated or the absolute rules by which customers will be treated.
Become a member to continue to read chapter 2, which focuses on:
- The best ways to purchase airline tickets, get refunds, and deal with lost tickets.
- Understanding the airfare maze—outlining the various classes of tickets, discounts available, and rules that accompany fares.
- Preflight decisions
- Dealing with problems enroute—delayed and canceled flights, lost tickets, overbooking and bumping.
- Baggage problems
- On-board health considerations and miscellaneous airline issues