A nontransferable ticket can be used only by the passenger whose name appears
on the face of the ticket. If the names on the passenger's ID and on the ticket do
not match, the airline can confiscate the ticket. If a ticket is nontransferable but
refundable, however, you may be able to cash in the old ticket and buy a new one with the new
passenger's name. A nonrefundable ticket means that you cannot get your money back
if you decide not to travel, though each airline does make exceptions. If you can't
make a flight (on a nonrefundable ticket), you may be able to apply the ticket toward a future
flight or exchange it for credit toward future travel. If the fare on a nonrefundable
ticket has dropped, you may be able to get re-ticketed. You'll probably have to pay a
fee under these circumstances in order to make the change. Cancellations and making
changes to your flights often result in penalties or additional charges.
Federal law doesn't require airlines to compensate passengers in the event of a
flight cancellation with domestic flights. Full-service airlines are more likely to offer
you meals or hotel accomodations, alternative transportation or emergency toiletries in the event of
an overnight delay.
Under an international treaty called the Warsaw Convention, an airline can
bypass any liability if it can demonstrate that it took all the necessary measures to avoid the
cancellation, or if it can prove that it was impossible to prevent. You may be able to
persuade the airline to cover costs for a meal, hotel or telephone expenses incurred over the delay.
Remember to mention article 19 of the Warsaw Convention when backing up your
argument. Article 19 states: "The Carrier shall be liable for damages
occasioned by delay in the transportation by air of passengers, baggage or goods".
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