US DOT rule applicability

Old Apr 9, 2020, 9:16 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1
1. It's not up to NZ phone agents to provide copies of the law to you.
2. A 30-second internet search produces a copy of the US DOT Warning Letter of 3 April detailing the rules (which have been in effect since 2011) and making it very clear that they apply to tickets originating in or destined to the US https://www.transportation.gov/sites...3%202020_0.pdf/

So, what to do:

1. Initiate a chargeback with your credit card issuer (bank). Be prepared to provide a copy of your e-ticket receipt, the flight cancellation notice, and a 1-sentence summary of your request and denial (better to do this in writing, but too late now).
2. File a complaint with US DOT (online form).
I'm aware of the letter and have read it. Its silent on the actual clarification we are asking for which NZ are quoting, that it does not apply to non US citizens and bookings not made in the US. They have quoted a US DOT rule to back up their claim which no one can seem to locate so I think it's not unreasonable to ask them to back up their verbal statements.

To lodge a charge back on the card and a complaint with DOT again we'd need to clarify if DOT rules apply to all passengers on any flight to/from the US regardless of booking location and citizenship.

To date no one has been able to confirm.
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Old Apr 9, 2020, 9:22 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by Ged
Conditions of Carriage here . "Rule 15.5" down the list to the bottom. The ongoing question is does DOT technically trump their own local conditions of carriage. It may do but it may also take the first test case to fall either way before this all gets tidied up. For now ANZ are sitting in the grey zone and relying on customers not to push this - for obvious implications.

https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/conditions-of-carriage
thanks I didnt think to look at their CoC 15.5 as we specially asked what part of the DOT regulation states it's not applicable to non US citizens & bookings which they are hiding behind, they then said US DOT reg 15.5

I think you are correct until someone kicks the can well down the road they will hold the line.
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Old Apr 9, 2020, 11:49 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by racekp
I'm aware of the letter and have read it. Its silent on the actual clarification we are asking for which NZ are quoting, that it does not apply to non US citizens and bookings not made in the US. They have quoted a US DOT rule to back up their claim which no one can seem to locate so I think it's not unreasonable to ask them to back up their verbal statements.

To lodge a charge back on the card and a complaint with DOT again we'd need to clarify if DOT rules apply to all passengers on any flight to/from the US regardless of booking location and citizenship.

To date no one has been able to confirm.
This is the rule being referenced: https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...er-protections

It stated outright the refund requirement, and additionally establishes the extraterritorial nature of the rule and to whom it applies (and that is "foreign air carriers that operate scheduled passenger service to and from the U.S. with at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats")

It's laughable that they claim that DOT rules don't apply to tickets sold in a different POS, given that they explicitly apply DOT rules regarding 24 hour penalty-free cancellations to the US from all jurisdictions.
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Last edited by kyanar; Apr 9, 2020 at 11:57 pm
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Old Apr 10, 2020, 2:11 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Ged
The ongoing question is does DOT technically trump their own local conditions of carriage.
Yes - not only technically, but always. It is a rule that NZ must follow if:

1. NZ wants to continue its U.S. operations; and/or,
2. NZ wants to keep the JV.

Originally Posted by racekp
To lodge a charge back on the card and a complaint with DOT again we'd need to clarify if DOT rules apply to all passengers on any flight to/from the US regardless of booking location and citizenship.
Yes - 5th and/or 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Unlike the Commonwealth system, the U.S. law requires to treat everyone the same one as it applies.

Originally Posted by kyanar
It's laughable that they claim that DOT rules don't apply to tickets sold in a different POS, given that they explicitly apply DOT rules regarding 24 hour penalty-free cancellations to the US from all jurisdictions.
As much as I appreciate the discussion, I would encourage you, if you are impacted, to file a complaint with DOT, instead of continuing the discussion here. DOT complaint are resolved (in favor or against) rather quickly (10 days or less in most of the time).

Also - the more complaints DOT receives in a similar matter, the more likely that DOT will investigate on its own initiative and result in enforcement.
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Old Apr 10, 2020, 11:36 am
  #50  
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There is no "grey zone". NZ cannot simply decide not to obey the law.

It was exactly that attitude which led US DOT to issue its Warning Letter on 3 April. NZ has agreed to be bound by US law for flights operating to & from the US as a condition of its landing rights and the tenor of the Warning Letter makes it quite clear that DOT does not intend to be trifled with.

Thus, as noted in #44 , initiate the chargeback and be certain to file the DOT Complaint as NZ will find itself outside the grace period offered by DOT to carriers to come into line. Anecdotally, it seems that most carriers are doing so, thus leaving NZ as an outlier. A pity for the future if those wishing to travel to the US have to make a change to another carrier somewhere enroute!

To be clear, while the Warning Letter was issued on 3 April, the rules it describes have been in effect since 2011, and in another form since 1985. This is not new or surprising.

Last edited by Often1; Apr 10, 2020 at 12:59 pm
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 7:41 am
  #51  
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Quick Update on My Case

1. Had three tries before getting an agent who understood DOT rules.
2. She issued me a refund (sent me an email confirmation) on Thursday.
3. Today (Saturday) the credit posted to my credit card.

So it's a quick process once you get them to agree to the refund and process it.
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 10:32 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by usedtobeimportant
1. Had three tries before getting an agent who understood DOT rules.
2. She issued me a refund (sent me an email confirmation) on Thursday.
3. Today (Saturday) the credit posted to my credit card.

So it's a quick process once you get them to agree to the refund and process it.
Glad this worked out for you.

My guess is that the foolishness about the NZ contract somehow repealing US law and US law only applying to US citizens, was at best poor training and at worst a malicious or incompetent agent. If NZ has received a few complaints forwarded by US DOT, it will have sent a note to its front line staff.

When you run into these things:

1. Hang up politely. Not worth arguing about the subleties of the law.
2. Call back and push your case. If it is resolved and you receive your refund, you can withdraw your chargeback.
3. Initiate a chargeback.
4. File a DOT complaint.

A bit of a pity for New Zealanders who have been given false information for potentially many years. These rules have been in effect since 2011 and there have likely been other cancellations where people who wanted a refund did not get one.
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 6:17 pm
  #53  
 
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On the 2nd call got the refund approved and email confirmation sent. Agent asked to see proof of the DoT reg so provided the warning letter issued on 3 April. Went on hold while they took it to their 'legal' team at 9pm at night haha, came back and said no problem refund will be issued.

They claimed they had never seen that letter and thanked for providing a copy as they had been trying to find it...yeah right!!

Anyway it's all been resolved so thanks for everyone's assistance.

I'd say pretty soon airnz will need to front foot this and advise passengers of their options to refund OR credit. And on that basis the credit option would have to have some sweeteners thrown in I would have thought.
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 6:34 pm
  #54  
 
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Ha..ha.., I sent them the letter over a week ago and the message was read (but at this point not replied to).
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 8:11 pm
  #55  
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The letter was sent to the designated DOT contact for every US carrier and every non-US carrier serving the US. That is not the kind of correspondence which gets ignored.

If you sent your request for a refund over a week ago, don't bother waiting, just start a chargeback,
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 10:10 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Often1
The letter was sent to the designated DOT contact for every US carrier and every non-US carrier serving the US. That is not the kind of correspondence which gets ignored.
Also, once your complaint has been received and reviewed by a DOT staff, the DOT will send you a semi-personalized form email to acknowledge your complaint.
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Old Apr 11, 2020, 10:20 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
USA law only applies for USA. USA does not make laws for or in New Zealand.
If a flight was purchased in New Zealand, NZ laws will apply.
New Zealand is a sovereign country.
This is not correct. It's not a choice of law question. A flight touching US soil gives DOT jurisdiction (among other bases). NZ is indisputably subject to DOT's refund regulation with respect to this ticket, as well as to DOT enforcement action if it does not comply.
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Old Apr 12, 2020, 5:21 pm
  #58  
 
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Perhaps the follow-up question is "to what extent will the DOT enforce this rule--and whether any sanctions would be financial (penalties) or potentially suspending or cancelling existing landing rights." I can't see either being massive priorities as the DOT tries to get the US airline market back up and running.

Originally Posted by ottiehund
It doesn't get much clearer than that..... 'flights to, within or from". Will be interesting to see if it has any impact.
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Old Apr 12, 2020, 8:05 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by jawnbc
Perhaps the follow-up question is "to what extent will the DOT enforce this rule--and whether any sanctions would be financial (penalties) or potentially suspending or cancelling existing landing rights." I can't see either being massive priorities as the DOT tries to get the US airline market back up and running.
Quite the contrary. NZ is not a US carrier.

It is the perfect candidate for an enforcement action, most particularly because it falsely asserted that US law is inapplicable to non-US citizens. That will rankle.
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Old Apr 12, 2020, 10:14 pm
  #60  
 
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Originally Posted by jawnbc
whether any sanctions would be financial (penalties).
I believe that under US DOT the penalty is about USD34,500 per breach.
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