US DOT rule applicability

Old Apr 12, 20, 11:02 pm
  #61  
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Just read through chunks of the DOT document - https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...er-protections

Which bit in particular relates to the mandatory refunds for carriers entering / exiting the USA irrespective of ticket type purchased.

Thanks
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Old Apr 13, 20, 1:00 am
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Originally Posted by Ged View Post
Just read through chunks of the DOT document - https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...er-protections

Which bit in particular relates to the mandatory refunds for carriers entering / exiting the USA irrespective of ticket type purchased.

Thanks
This bit?

Customer Service Plans

Requires 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 to adopt, follow and audit customer service plans.  

Establishes standards for the subjects U.S. and foreign air carriers must cover in customer service plans.

Examples include:  

delivering baggage on time, including reimbursing passengers for any fee charged to transport a bag if the bag is lost;  

where ticket refunds are due, providing prompt refunds including refund of optional fees charged to a passenger for services that the passenger was unable to use due to an oversale situation or flight cancellation; and....
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Old Apr 14, 20, 8:57 pm
  #63  
 
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Whats peoples thoughts on if the NZ flight transiting through LAX for AKL-LAX-LHR and return would be subject to DoT regs, given its touching down on US soil even for transit I would have thought it would be?

Last edited by racekp; Apr 14, 20 at 9:38 pm
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Old Apr 14, 20, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by racekp View Post
Whats peoples thoughts on if the NZ flight transiting through LAX for AKL-LAX-LHR and return would be subject to DoT regs, given its touching down on US soil even for transit I would have through it would be?
Then it is straightly AKL-LHR and LHR-AKL.

AKL-LHR is subject NZ law. But LHR-AKL is subject to EC regulations.

No U.S. law is involved, given that the U.S. governs from/to only but not "via".
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Old Apr 14, 20, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Then it is straightly AKL-LHR and LHR-AKL.

AKL-LHR is subject NZ law. But LHR-AKL is subject to EC regulations.

No U.S. law is involved, given that the U.S. governs from/to only but not "via".
Thanks for clarifying
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Old Apr 15, 20, 1:20 am
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That's not what I wrote. "US airline market" refers to the market--the whole sector: obviously NZ isn't a US carrier.

The DOT will probably be focused on US carriers and their services. The bailout announced today validates that.
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
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 15, 20, 4:54 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Then it is straightly AKL-LHR and LHR-AKL.

AKL-LHR is subject NZ law. But LHR-AKL is subject to EC regulations.

No U.S. law is involved, given that the U.S. governs from/to only but not "via".
i think this is wrong. Air NZ does not fly AKL-LHR, and instead flies AKL-LAX and LAX-LHR. For me, saying via not to/from is applying a gloss that the DOT will ignore. Instead, I expect the DOT will say all four flights (AKL-LAX, LAX-LHR, LHR-LAX and LAX-AKL) are to or from the USA.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 5:27 am
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Originally Posted by gratn View Post
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefined

i think this is wrong. Air NZ does not fly AKL-LHR, and instead flies AKL-LAX and LAX-LHR. For me, saying via not to/from is applying a gloss that the DOT will ignore. Instead, I expect the DOT will say all four flights (AKL-LAX, LAX-LHR, LHR-LAX and LAX-AKL) are to or from the USA.
I was initially of the same thinking but just not sure. Either way a DOT complaint has been logged for this route. AirNZ are claiming it's not applicable to DOT, but they are saying that for a number of flights at the moment when customers are claiming DOT applicability.

Will just have to see how it plays out.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 8:41 am
  #69  
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Originally Posted by gratn View Post
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefined

i think this is wrong. Air NZ does not fly AKL-LHR, and instead flies AKL-LAX and LAX-LHR. For me, saying “via” not “to/from” is applying a gloss that the DOT will ignore. Instead, I expect the DOT will say all four flights (AKL-LAX, LAX-LHR, LHR-LAX and LAX-AKL) are to or from the USA.
This.

The term "via" does not exist in the regulatory scheme. In this sequence, NZ is operating both "to" the US, e.g. AKL-LAX and "from" the US, e.g. LAX-LHR.

NZ agrees to be bound by US law in return for being granted the privilege of landing rights in the US. A voluntary act on its part.

The assertion that the ticket is not covered by US law is as much what is politely referred to as b.s. as NZ's earlier (and now dropped) assertion that the US law only applies to US citizens.

The key to a DOT complaint is to trigger the rule. Analysts do not necessarily understand every route's intricacies. Thus, "I held a ticket on NZ from AKL-LAX and then on NZ LAX-LHR"

Last edited by Often1; Apr 15, 20 at 9:22 am
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Old Apr 15, 20, 5:25 pm
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A point of reference - I had premium economy (sale, non-refundable) tickets to Washington DC in June - Air NZ long haul with United domestic in the USA, via SFO outbound and LAX inbound. Purchased in NZ via Air NZ website. I am a New Zealand citizen. $4k total cost.

Last week I received a cancellation notice from Air NZ - cancelled due to COVID-19 - with a notification that the cost of the tickets would automatically be put into credit.

I replied asking if a refund could be processed as per DOT rules - with my understanding being that flights to/from the USA are covered under this rule.

Air NZs response was:

Air New Zealand's policy is also aligned with the US DoT law, in these instances the US DoT refund rule prevails (section1.2) over our position on uncontrollable changes (section 15.5) and customers are entitled to a refund should they request one. This refund only apply to sales in the US (or to US citizens when purchased outside the US) for flights to or from the US. If you are a US citizen you can send a copy of your US passport to us and we will be happy to process the refund of this ticket.

i.e. according to Air NZ DOT rule trumps Conditions of Carriage, but only if you purchased the ticket in the USA or are a US citizen.

I replied asking if this position could be reviewed by Air NZs legal team, with reference to the fact that the DOT rule makes no reference to citizenship or point-of-sale being at all. To me the rule makes it quite clear that foreign carriers flying aircraft of more than 30 passengers to/from the USA are required to comply with DOT rules.

I received the following reply:

Our policy has been reviewed by our legal team. However, you are free to seek legal advice if you chose to do so, however please note Air New Zealand does not have an independent Ombudsman or dispute body to help with this process. You will need to do this independently.

Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback. I am sorry that we are unable to further assist in this matter.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 6:50 pm
  #71  
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Thanks for this. Looks like they are digging in and pushing back. Will watch from afar given I'm still technically flying at this point.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 7:03 pm
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Yes, looking at the Refunds for a Suspended Flights thread it looks as though some people in my situation have obtained refunds using the DOT rule, but my request has been unsuccessful thus far.

The reply to my request to clarify with Air NZs legal team came back VERY quickly, and was seemingly from a customer services representative. I doubt there was any consultation with the legal department in this time frame (someone else in one the the two threads referenced the CSR checking with legal in response to this issue). The CSR simply stated that the legal team had reviewed the policy.

I suspect therefore that Air NZ has now adopted as policy the the position (possibly after some refunds snuck through the net??) that you only get a refund under DOT rules if you are a US citizen or purchased the ticket in the US, and this policy has been distributed to the customer service team to apply immediately to refund requests.

As far as I can tell this (assuming it is in fact Air NZ policy) is in breach of the DOT rule. I have therefore submitted an online complaint/comment to DOT, and informed Air NZ that I have done so. Will report back if anything comes of it.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 7:04 pm
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Would it be possible for people to add dates to the AirNZ statements? E.g. Last week is ages ago at the moment and a newer post could actually happened previous to an earlier post, etc

Cheers
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Old Apr 15, 20, 7:21 pm
  #74  
 
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Good idea

For reference - my flight for 2 June was cancelled on 7 April. I submitted an online request for a refund on 7 April. This request did cite the DOT rule.

The first reply I received from Air NZ, plus my further correspondence with Air NZ about the DOT rule (including Air NZ informing me about their apparent policy that only US citizens or people who purchased tickets in USA get refunded for cancelled flights to/from USA under DOT rule) has all occurred today - 16 April
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Old Apr 15, 20, 7:31 pm
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I had the same reply as Dr Surf on Tuesday. For six flights. 6 DoT complaints lodged.

Air NZ conceded in writing that the US passport requirement is not needed.

I cant find the reference for the $34k USD fine per breach for an airline (it does seem steep), that one poster has mentioned - is anyone able to provide a link.

Will report back with DoT response
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