American Airlines has a policy that if a flight is cancelled for any reason other than weather, AA will pay for stranded passengers' hotel and meals until the passengers' rebooked flight. If the cancellation is due to weather, passengers must pay for their own lodging and food.

This seems to create an incentive for the airline to blame suboptimal-but-still-flyable weather conditions when they must actually cancel a flight for another reason. There is a lot of news lately about cancelled flights due to crew shortages and pilot strikes. It seems in an airline's financial interest to shift the costs associated with these cancellations (e.g. unexpected hotel stays) onto passengers.

Are there accountability mechanisms to prevent an airline from doing this? If so, how do they work?


1 Answer 1


AA, or any other airline, does not operate in a vacuum.

"Hey, we had to cancel FLT 102 from Pittsburgh due to weather."

The rest of the world...'Hey, wait a minnit. Delta, United, FEDEX all took off and landed within 5-10 minutes before and after. So...'

They are in the business of getting people from A to B. Not necessarily screwing them over in doing so.

  • $\begingroup$ If you wanted to make a case against an airline you might contact ATC at both ends of the flight and ask about weather conditions. If both say that they are able to operate then there’s grounds for a ‘please explain’ from the airline. $\endgroup$
    – Frog
    Jul 22, 2022 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ Every company is in the business of maximizing revenues and minimizing expenses. If that means lying to avoid paying for 200+ hotel rooms, so be it. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Jul 23, 2022 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe out of 200 passengers, only ~10% will complain that weather is not a probable cancellation cause. Those 10% might get hotels & meals. The other 90% are still good savings. (btw this thread would better fit "Travel") $\endgroup$
    – Déjà vu
    Jul 23, 2022 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ In the history of commercial air, have we seen any documented instances of this? If so, was there any blowback to the airline? $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Jul 23, 2022 at 18:53

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