Is The Electronics Ban Grounds To Cancel A Ticket Without A Fee?

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The US launched a ban on large electronics a couple of weeks ago.

I still can’t understand why the ban only applies on nonstop flights from select Middle Eastern airports. Apparently we’re relying on terrorists not knowing how to buy a flight to the US that connects in Europe to easily circumvent the ban.

If there is a real threat it should apply from everywhere, otherwise the ban seems toothless from a security standpoint. So it won’t surprise me if the ban is expanded to more airports than are now included.

The fact that I arrived into the airside domestic section of JFK from Abu Dhabi means that the US trusts that the security and customs pre-clearance operation works well enough to trust that passengers coming from Abu Dhabi can fly onto domestic US flights without any additional security screening. Which of course means that the electronics ban from there is even more illogical.

But enough with logic.

I had an Etihad first class award from the Maldives to Cleveland via Abu Dhabi and JFK booked with American miles for my wife and myself. As I wrote in the trip report, my wife was not able to join me on the trip. However, I never cancel awards and pay redeposit fees before I need to. Better off waiting to see if there will be bad weather or a schedule change that will allow for a free cancellation. With American you can even change the dates on an award for free and see if a schedule change or bad weather will apply then 😉

In this case I had booked a ticket for a flight that included the ability to bring a camera and laptop on the plane. Was the ban a material change in the ticket that was sold?

I called American and the first agent agreed with that logic, but had to get a manager to sign off on it. The manager refused as it was a US government rule and not American’s rule. Normally I’d play HUCA, but I wasn’t interested in wasting the time while in the Maldives, so I had the manager cancel the award without redepositing the miles. That way I wouldn’t have to fight for a refund down the road or I could change the dates without paying a fee later on.

I wrote to the DoT to ask their opinion on the electronics ban being a material change to the ticket’s terms.

They agreed that it did fall under their jurisdiction.

The last time the DoT agreed with me over American it took 8 months to get a final resolution.

This time it took just one week for the DoT to work with American to have the miles put back into my account without a fee.

So in the end I missed out on taking good pictures of the Etihad Apartments cabin, but my electronics did survive the journey, and I came out $150 ahead. All’s well that ends well?

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26 Comments On "Is The Electronics Ban Grounds To Cancel A Ticket Without A Fee?"

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Sam

Curious about “cancel award without redeposit”… So the miles will remain in their system (instead of your account)? For how long?

Shaul Morrison

Regarding your question about non-stop flights being the only ones that are included, it makes sense if you assume that those airports have a higher threat level combined with worse security.

Regarding why pre-clearance airports are included, I agree it makes zero sense.

Dumb?

Why $150 ahead?

zvi

Not totally true. Transiting through IST requires security re-check.
AUH passed US standards, as does most of Europe. Some ME airports do not. I believe that’s the premise, and not the conspiracy theory about protectionism you propose.

DanFan

DOT favors one airline over another?

They agree easier with some airline over another?

Anonymous

And Dan do you file with the DOT an “unformal complaint” or a “formal complaint”?

MosheP

I have a similar occurrence. Flying Spirit right now. I purchased a seat for an infant and brought his car seat. It was confiscated, as it doesn’t have an FRA approved tag. They are making me hold the baby. Can I get a refund for the unused seat? Or is the fact that at the time of purchase the seat wasn’t allowed preclude me from the ruling Dan recieved?

Anonymous

@Dan:
Which one do you file?

One takes like 2 minuets to file but the other one should be more effective but far more work involved.

Anonymous

@Dan: I have transferred many times in Europe and it seems they always have the TSA there at the gate for the US-bound flight (or at least an additional nuisance screening of sorts). I recall seeing this in MUC, BRU, IST and probably more locations.

reb yid

“Which of course means that the electronics ban from there is even more illogical.”

No, it means that passing TSA security COUPLED WITH absence of electronics is safe enough.

Dan, security is not a simplistic all or nothing approach. There are more bad actors who may bring bomb components directly from certain areas than from others. It’s all a question of risk.

Anonymous

Were you able to find an AA rep that speaks English properly? I couldn’t.

Gemara Kup

The logic is that “mashein kein” the Arabic countries, the European countries will know to “bust” any harmful items before it loads an aircraft.

username

Dan:
Maybe the terrorists are targeting only at the longer flights, which have more fuel on board.

Eliezer

Whats the point of cancel flight without redepositing if you’ll end up most probably to cancel entirely? Wont you be charged twice, for flight change and for final cancellation with redeposit ? How does it work with United with that?

lea

My flight was canceled from Israel to Usa via Rome Alitalia because airportstrike in Rome and they don’t want to give any compensation at all even though didn’t accommodate us because said its airport and not them who do I deal with or complain to get anything thanx for your forum and good tips always

Eliezer

Thanks! So with that being said can i change first to a later date and cancel before 61 days to avoid paying the higher fee now within 61 days to departure??

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