U.S D.O.T Information

Some necessary information applied to the tickets purchased / issued in the U.S market is published on the U.S Department of Transportation website, Aviation Consumer Protection. These policies will be updated regularly and without prior notice.

Buying a Ticket

Before you buy a ticket, please compare ticket prices, analyze ticket restrictions, and compare the cost of optional services is all part of the ticket buying process. DOT has in place passenger protection requirements to make this process easier for consumers.

Restrictions on Tickets: Airlines are free to create different ticket types with different types of restrictions (fare classes).  While some tickets are fully-refundable and may include two free checked bags, free drinks, a seat assignment, and other amenities, other tickets may provide only transportation on the airplane and may be non-refundable.  It is important that you understand the type of ticket you are purchasing and what types of restrictions apply. Note: Generally, discounted tickets have the strictest rules such as non-refund ability, baggage restrictions, and the absence of a seat assignment.  In contrast, first class or business class tickets typically are the least restrictive and provide many amenities to consumers. 

Are airlines required to provide me with the appropriate travel documentation to complete international travel (for example, a visa)? No, airlines are not required to provide you with appropriate travel documents to complete international travel.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the valid travel documents required to complete travel.  If you do not arrive at the airport with proper travel documentation, you will not be allowed to travel.

Purchasing a ticket through a travel agency or online travel agencies: Passengers often book air travel through travel agencies.  When you purchase a ticket through a travel agency or the online travel agent, you are not buying a ticket directly from the airline.  You are allowing the agency or agent to find and book air travel on your behalf. If you encounter any problems with your ticket during your travel, you should first contact the travel agency or agent directly.  The airline that you are flying on may be limited in the type of assistance that it can provide to you because you did not purchase your ticket directly from it.  You should check with your travel agent for any restrictions on these tickets.

Which airline is operating your flight? Sometimes when you book a ticket, the airline that you purchase the ticket from will not be the airline operating your flight. Airlines often partner with each other so that one airline markets a flight to consumers (displays a ticket price and sells a ticket) while another airline is responsible for operating the flight (flying you to your destination). When airlines engage in such an arrangement (code-sharing) they are required to clearly and prominently identify the airline that is operating the flight(s).  During the booking process, this information must be clearly and prominently displayed on the first screen that appears following a search for a specific itinerary. Airlines cannot provide code-share disclosures through roll-overs, pop-ups, and hyper-links. Airlines are also required to clearly and prominently identify code-share partners in all advertisements and on ticket confirmations following the purchase of air fare. 

Flight Delays & Cancellations

When planning a trip, passengers should keep in mind that airlines do not guarantee their schedules.  While airlines want to get passengers to their destinations on time, there are many things that can – and sometimes do – make it difficult for flights to arrive on time.  Some problems, like bad weather, air traffic delays, and mechanical issues, are hard to predict and often beyond the airlines’ control. 

In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled.  Compensation is required by U.S. law only when certain passengers are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold.  

The Department’s rules regarding flight delays and cancellations apply only to flights that operate to, from, or within the United States.  However, passengers flying between or within foreign countries may be protected from flight delays and cancellations by the laws of another nation.

Contact U.S D.O.T

• Mailing address: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590

• Website: http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer

• Telephone: 202-366-2220