Old Apr 1, 06, 12:27 pm
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Andover, MA USA
Posts: 1,556
Any recourse if an airline cancels a flight with sufficient notice?

In general contract terms, does anyone know whether a passenger has any recourse if an airline cancels a flight after tickets have issued, and significantly changes the terms of the original bargain (next available flight is not for 24 hours) do they have any obligation to the passenger other than to put them on the next available flight, if sufficient notice (a month) is given to the passenger regarding the schedule change? In my research of opinions on the issue thus far, the concensus is that the only remedies available to the passenger are to take the new flight, or cancel the ticket without penalty and get a refund.

If the changes to the original contract terms are minor, such as next flight is within a few hours, I can see how putting the passenger on the next flight, or offering a refund of the ticket would be a reasonable remedy. If the changes are not minor, and require the passenger to incur additional foreseeable expenses as a result of the airlines breach of the terms of the original bargain, shouldn't the passenger have additional recourse to recoup their reasonable out of pocket expenses (such as the cost of a hotel, if the next flight is not for 24 hours)?

For purposes of this discussion please assume:

The flight is canceled because the airline CHOSE to cancel it for reasons entirely within its control, and not because of force majeur, weather, etc.

Also lets stipulate that they have given the passenger sufficient notice of the change (example, one month's notice.)

Let's also assume, for purposes of this discussion, that the passenger can't take any other transportation other than what is offered (the next flight on the same airline). Let's assume flights on other airlines or travel by train, car, etc. are not available options.

Let's also assume the next available flight is not for 24 hours.

Your thoughts?

Would the outcome be affected by whether or not the ticket was paid for with cash or miles? If so, how?

Would the outcome be different if the ticket were paid for with miles from Airline #1, but used on that airline's partner airline?

Last edited by hhonorman; Apr 1, 06 at 12:43 pm
hhonorman is offline