Skip to content

Some US domestic flights now eligible for cash if delayed or canceled

April 14 2022
4 min read
Some US domestic flights now eligible for cash if delayed or canceled
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In a big win for U.S.-bound passengers inconvenienced by delayed or canceled international flights, the Court of Justice of the European Union broadened existing EU compensation rules last week to apply to domestic connecting flights originating in the EU.

This is welcome news for travelers as passengers on more flights will be eligible for a monetary reward under EU261.

The expanded rule means flights within the EU, flights departing from the EU to the United States (and other countries) and even the connecting flights you are booked on within the U.S. will be eligible for compensation when delayed or canceled.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In the U.S., there is no federal law requiring domestic airlines to provide passengers with money or other compensation for delayed or canceled flights. Instead, it's up to the discretion of each airline to implement individual policies, which at best result in credits for meals or hotels.

Generally, airlines don't have to reimburse you for anything in the event of "extraordinary events" such as weather or government shutdowns. That doesn't change under the new rules. However, you are eligible for compensation under other circumstances (like bad airline operations) in the European Union. This new ruling means that if you are on any flight originating in Europe even if you are ticketed on a different airline for a connecting flight, you'll be eligible to get money back.

The EU law, implemented in 2005, refunds passengers between $270-$650 for flight cancellations within 14 days of travel or delays exceeding three hours. The exact amount of compensation awarded depends on the distance of the flight, ranging from flights less than 932 miles to those covering more than 2,174 miles.

On April 8, Europe's highest court ruled that law is now applicable for passengers on connecting flights in the U.S. operated by U.S. carriers serving as EU partner airlines or codeshare flights under the rules of EU261.

"It thus follows from the clear wording of that provision that the situation of passengers on a connecting flight who have departed from an airport located in the territory of a Member State falls within the scope," the court wrote in its ruling, which resulted from a lawsuit regarding a delay in a stopover at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on a flight originating from Brussels Airport (BRU).

Three passengers experienced the delay on a Lufthansa-ticketed flight from Brussels to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California that included a connecting flight in Newark, operated by United Airlines.

The connecting flight from New Jersey to San Jose was delayed by nearly four hours. Even though this delay affected a U.S. flight route, the court declared that these travelers were still eligible under the EU law because their journey on a single ticket originated in Belgium.

"[It] must be interpreted as meaning that a passenger on a connecting flight, comprising two legs and subject to a single booking with a Community carrier, departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State and arriving at an airport located in a third country via another airport in that third country," the court explained, "is entitled to compensation from the third-country air carrier which operated the entirety of that flight acting on behalf of that Community carrier, where that passenger has reached his or her final destination with a delay of more than three hours caused in the second leg of the said flight."

This means that moving forward, all domestic flights within the U.S., booked on a single itinerary ticket, are subject to compensation under EU261 as long as such bookings were bought and sold by a European carrier.

With the new ruling in tow, the onward airline doesn't need to be European, as was the case with United.

Previously, the law did not cover domestic flights within the U.S., which are operated by American carriers.

Information on how to file relevant claims is available via the European Union's Your Europe website.

Read more: TPG’s guide to understanding EU261 flight compensation

Featured photo by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees