September 24, 2020

Help! My Very Direct Flight Added a Stop and So Many More Passengers

Yes. Allegiant’s contract of carriage — the take-it-or-leave-it agreement between an airline and its passengers — stipulates that flight schedules can change in any number of ways, and that the airline can “change, add, or omit intermediate or connecting stops” without notice.

These clauses are not specific to Allegiant — all airlines have them in some form. Consumer rights advocates find them problematic anyway.

“One problem with domestic flights is the lack of clear-cut air-passenger-rights regulations,” Mr. Nielsen said. “U.S. laws only regulate your rights to compensation when you get involuntarily bumped from a flight because the airline overbooked your flight. For other matters, the specific airline’s contract of carriage is often applied as the sole framework for rules and rights for the flight.”

Unless an airline can magically produce two versions of 12B, assigned seats on split flights are a headache, and surely the “take-any-open-seat” directive did little to quell the boarding chaos. Per its policies, Allegiant refunded your seat-assignment fees (as well as the baggage fees for good measure).

Split flights are considered schedule changes, and it’s easier to get restitution for those if you don’t actually board the plane. Allegiant’s contract of carriage, like those of other airlines, carves out concessions for “significant” schedule changes, including refunds for unused tickets.

“We regret that this passenger did not hear of the flight change until after boarding,” the Allegiant spokeswoman said. “But even so, had he alerted the flight crew of his discomfort with the additional stop, he could have chosen not to take the flight, and instead been re-accommodated or received a refund.”

Allegiant usually alerts passengers to schedule changes in advance, she said, but “this particular flight was a late decision.”

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