I copied this from another blogger because I thought it was funny coming from an obvious employee and it's some of the things employees of the airlines have to get a thick skin for. (My comments are in blue) The real reason for this entry is the "Rule 240" action and what it means to you and how to use it. Learn it because it may help you one day!
"There is so much to say but not enough time. For all I know I could be fired today, tomorrow, or maybe never. What I do know is that every day I wonder about my job and my sanity. I hate my job, but I love it too.
Some of the things I hate...
being called a bitch,
fucking (insert noun),
having to put up with people that think they know the airline industry
people that hate my airlines but fly it all the time
And then some of the things I love...
children that fly alone
passengers that fly often and know the routine
passengers that understand things can and will happen
everyone that lends me a smile
other airline employees
the reservation agents from other countries
the reservation agents from the Midwest
It's almost even, which is good enough for me, and the sole reason I return to work every day. So without any other chit chat here is some clarification on something that many people throw around when one of our flights cancel.
"To put it simply, rule 240 is the rule that journalists tell you to use when your flight is delayed or cancelled." I get it all the time that the passenger read about it on CNN.com or the New York Times, or some other "reliable" source. Before I can fully explain the TRUTH behind rule 240, these passengers always start the "I can't believe you treat your customers this way...blah blah blah I'll never fly you again...blah blah blah...this is ridiculous....blah blah blah...I'm going to sue you...blah blah blah...CNN said blah blah blah...you better get me to (city) right now!" So usually I just wait till they are done. Once they are done they will find out the following conditions of rule 240...Rule 240 states that if a flight is cancelled or delayed we must do everything in our power to put you on the NEXT AVAILABLE flight and get you to or close to your destination by whatever means are available. (This doesn't mean it has to be by plane either)
There are a few reasons a flight may cancel...
A mechanical failure is simple. Your plane broke down. The funny thing is, people would rather fly on a broken plane and maybe crash and die, than be glad we cancelled and offered a different plane. Of course this ruins MANY peoples' plans, but honestly...did you think it was a smart idea to book a flight the DAY BEFORE YOUR WEDDING? Crying that you're wedding is at noon the next day, means nothing to me. Of course I feel terribly bad and I'm sorry that the flight was cancelled, but although you don't believe, we really did cancel for the safety of our passengers.
Planning your plans to coinside with your flight plans and you can't control anything is the stupidest thing known to man! A wedding, funeral or whatever is important to you would warrant better planning on your part! Whoever plans like this are usually suspect from the door and your extremely lucky if nothing goes wrong but what are the odds of that???
When we say, 'safety is our number one priority,' we mean it. With a mechanical failure, depending on the airline policy, the airlines must get you to your final destination or another airport of your choice that is relatively close to your original destination, and must provide hotel and a food voucher if you are stranded over night.
Ok, man-made objects will breakfown from time to time and it has nothing to do with shoddy maintenance either. Things break, wear out and even fail and the airline will do all they can to fix the problem as quickly and correctly as possible but somethings take time to fix. So be patient and keep an ear out for updates about your flight from your agents ever 15-20 minutes because if the airline post a set departure time during a mechanical situation then they will shoot for that time or sooner if the problem gets fixed. If you leave the gate area for whatever reason and the flight leaves before you get back you can be out of luck if you miss it. The airline is not responsible to come look for you so I suggest you be close to the gate at least in ear shot for any changes in your flight including aircraft and gate changes.
A crew failure is when the crew for your flight is not there. There are a few reasons for this. All crew members (pilots and cabin attendants) are only allowed to work a certain number of hours in a day and during the month. This is not the airline rule but a rule enforced by the FAA. (Not waivable in any form) So towards the end of the month flights may cancel or get delayed due to crew lagalities or because they do not have enough crew members that can actually fly legally. (What was the weather like in the last few days around the U.S. and in your city) Other times it's because the crew that was supposed to work your flight was on a flight from a different city that was late or cancelled. Some airlines will offer hotels and meal vouchers, others will not.
There is a lot of air traffic. Especially at airports like New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Washington (IAD), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Philadelphia (PHL). There is nothing ANY airlines can do about traffic. If traffic was not controlled planes would be crashing into one another left and right. Sometimes traffic at a single airport is so bad every single flight will be delayed 2 hours. This happened in Philly not long ago. (Not every flight was delayed but a LOT were) Traffic is something we as an airline cannot control therefore we are not going to feed you and house you in the event you are stranded over night. Sorry. Seriously.
Traffic is going to be an ongoing problem as our aviation network is growing exponetially. Any little burp in the U.S. network at a medium or high volume airport can cause delays from early morning and then it can trickle down all day affecting flights in other cities. Chicago (ORD), Los Anges (LAX), Denver (DEN) and (JFK) in New York are going to have traffic delays regardless of weather so you as a passenger should plan your departure or arrival time if possible around that airports high bank arrivals.
Weather is just like traffic. We cannot control it, it is an act of God, too bad so sad. Whenever I tell a passenger their flight is cancelled due to weather, I ALWAYS get one or two that tell me they checked their iphone and the weather at so and so was perfectly clear. I even get military folks that tell me that's what they do for a living and they saw no signs of trouble with weather. So let me tell everyone a little secret.
(From The original poster)
Weather...it changes. We always get delays coming and going to/from San Francisco because of fog. We always get delays coming and going to/from Chicago because of snow/ice rain. Things like fog and rain and thunderstorms (IAD) come and go. So whilst it may look clear right in front of you, up in the sky is a different story. And while the sky may be clear right now in 2 hours there will be problems, and then in 4 hours it will be clear again. That is why some flights from some airlines are cancelled, and some flights from other airlines are not. We all leave at different hours, take different routes, hit different areas, etc etc etc. Your iphone does not know the weather better than the people that make these decisions. I don't care if that's your job for the military, for you to tell me that the sky looked clear from the plane means well enough that you don't know WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! So...if your flight cancels due to weather, we will not feed you or house you because...well God wanted it to be that way. So all these flights are cancelled and or delayed. What next? Rule 240.
(Oh and by the way to the Europeans...when you tell me this would never happen in Europe, well it does. Except you guys just have a better contract. But please remember your Euro and Pound is worth a ton more too. Complaining about how shitty the American system is will not get you on an earlier flight, and it does not help when you're acting like a total douche bag.) Rule 240 puts you on the next available flight. If your flight was at 2pm and the next flight is at 3pm, rule 240 does NOT guarantee that you will go on the next flight. We will put you on the next flight with OPEN seats, the airline does not have to bump anyone off of there scheduledflight to accomodate you!
We can put you on other airlines, but we MUST have an AGREEMENT with those airlines. So PLEASE...please...stop asking us to put you on Southwest, Virgin America, and Jet Blue. We will not, and cannot. They don't work with ANY airlines, they don't do connecting bags between carriers and the don't accept tickets from these carriers. If you want on or off one of the carriers listed you either need to get a refund against your ticket and purchase a new one or stick it out with the same carrier. These "discount" airlines keep to themselves, period. So if you're ever on a cancelled flight with them...you don't have the option of looking into other airlines. You just stick with them. In any case, the only way we can put you on another flight with other airlines if THEY have open seats. SO we ask that airlines, and even if they HAVE open seats, if that airlines says "NO" then we cannot. It's not our problem, now it is yours. So before you start yelling about rule 240, please know how it REALLY works. And the best kept secret of the airline industry...A little kindness and understanding will go a LONG LONG way. I swear it works. remember don't bite the hand that feeds ya!!!