If the consumer-unfriendly ticketing restrictions quietly added by the three major domestic airlines this year don’t win the Worst New Travel Rules of 2016 award, they’re definitely strong contenders. “Silly travel rules we hope will end in 2017”
Try not to laugh too loudly the next time a flight attendant makes one of those pre-flight announcements to thank you for your business and say, “We know you have a choice in airlines.”
Now that the USA is down to just three major legacy carriers, thanks to the misguided merger between American Airlines and US Airways, it doesn’t take a card-carrying frequent flier to know your options are awful.
But they don’t have to be. Imagine if foreign airlines were allowed to offer flights in the United States, competing head-to-head with our new winged monopolies.
“If I could fly Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific on U.S. domestic routes, at prices comparable to American airlines, I would buy those tickets in a New York minute,” says John Strohm, a software engineer from Huntsville, Ala.
“Why can’t foreign airlines fly in America?”
When you buy an “illegal” airline ticket — which is to say, a ticket that violates a carrier’s booking rules — the penalties can be severe. It’s not uncommon to have your frequent flier account suspended or for your travel agent to receive a debit memo, demanding the fare difference.
But what happens when your airline books an unlawful ticket?
That’s the question Ron Laufer wants answered after his Continental Airlines ticket ran afoul of cabotage laws.
His itinerary took him from Vancouver to Chicago and then from Chicago to Halifax. But he was denied boarding on the Chicago-to-Halifax leg because it was determined that the flight would have violated federal law.
“Is this enough compensation? My airline ticket is “illegal” and all they’re offering is a voucher”