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Right to Care from American Airlines

Under certain circumstances, while you’re at the airport, you have a right to care.

Primarily, this includes complimentary meals and accommodation during your waiting period.

If your American Airlines flight is suddenly cancelled, overbooked, or delayed, you can get certain services for free. If the wait lasts three hours or more, food and drinks should be provided for free. If you have to stay in a hotel overnight because of a delay, American Airlines has to pay for your stay. Keep in mind that these EU rules only apply to American Airlines flights that leave from the UK and the EU.

Right to Care From American Airlines

The right to care applies to some American Airlines flights.

European legislation protects passenger rights, mandating that American Airlines must offer necessary support on specified flights. Although this law generally applies to all flights to and from the EU for European airlines, for American Airlines, it applies only to their departures from Europe.

This is mandated under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

Short Delays (3+ Hours)

You are entitled to: meals and refreshments.

For delays that last three hours or more within a single day, American Airlines must provide you with complimentary meals and drinks. You are also permitted to make two free phone calls, send emails, or send faxes. These are typically provided in the form of vouchers.

Long Delays (Overnight)

You are entitled to: meals, drinks, hotel stay and airport transfer.

If your flight is delayed overnight, American Airlines will provide you with free accommodation, transport to and from the airport, meals, and drinks. If you haven’t received updates regarding these arrangements, make sure to reach out to American Airlines as soon as possible.

As American Airlines is a non-European airline, these EU regulations apply only to American Airlines flights departing from the EU and the UK.

How to Get Free Food and Free Hotel Accommodation?

In the event of a lengthy delay at the airport, American Airlines should offer amenities such as complimentary meals, accommodation, and airport transfers. These should be provided during your waiting period without the need for a request.

If these facilities aren’t extended to you, it’s essential to contact the American Airlines customer service desk and enquire about them. According to European law, the airline is required to provide these services for free for eligible delays.

If the airline doesn’t arrange these services, you may have to organize them yourself. Retain all receipts and proofs of purchase related to food, drinks, transfers, and hotel stays. Once you have these, you can submit a reimbursement request to American Airlines, detailing your expenses during the delay. Ensure you provide all necessary information to facilitate the reimbursement process.

No matter what causes the delay (unless it’s you), you have this right.

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Extraordinary Circumstances

We start by defining extraordinary circumstances.

What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

Extraordinary circumstances are unplanned events that happen outside of an airline’s control and cause changes to, delays in, or cancellations of flights. Extreme weather, strikes by non-airlines, security risks, political unrest, or unknown flaws in the planes’ construction can all be these things. Based on Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, the company is not required to give compensation in this case, even though it caused trouble.

But, as was said above, the right to care stays the same.

Are Technical Problems Considered Extraordinary Circumstances?

Conforming to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, technical problems usually do not qualify as “extraordinary circumstances.” Regular operating problems aren’t unusual because they are within the airline’s control, according to the regulations.

These may consist of normal maintenance or small repairs. These conditions are part of the airline’s usual duty and, as such, cannot be used to avoid providing compensation or care to customers.

However, if the problem is a hidden manufacturing flaw that compromises flight safety, it may be considered extraordinary. This is because such events are uncommon, represent an urgent danger to the aircraft’s safety, and lie beyond the airline’s standard technical processes.

Right to Care in Extraordinary Circumstances

Even in extraordinary circumstances, passengers have the right to care.

American Airlines is still expected to ensure your safety during the waiting time, even if they may not be held accountable for delays or cancellations caused by uncontrolled reasons. In the case of significant delays and last-minute cancellations, this obligation extends to providing meals, beverages, and accommodation.

As American Airlines is a non-European airline, these EU regulations apply only to American Airlines flights departing from the EU and the UK.

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Right to Care: FAQ – American Airlines

In this section, we aim to clarify common queries regarding the right to care during flight delays and cancellations when flying with American Airlines.

What Does “Right to Care” Mean in the Context of American Airlines?

The right to care refers to a series of obligations that airlines, such as American Airlines, have towards their passengers during flight delays, overbooking, or cancellations.

Under European law, airlines are bound to ensure passenger comfort during such disruptions. This can include offering complimentary meals, refreshments, and accommodation in the case of significant delays.

If My Flight Is Delayed, Do I Still Have a Right to Care?

If your flight delay with American Airlines lasts more than three hours, the airline should automatically provide you with amenities like free food and beverages and, if the delay is overnight, lodging.

You should speak with the American Airlines customer support representative at the airport if these services are not offered. As an alternative, you may pay the costs out of pocket and then submit a claim for reimbursement. You should always submit your claim as soon as possible.

This only applies to flights on American Airlines that leave from Europe.

Do I Have a Right to Care If My American Airlines Flight Is Canceled?

Yes, if your American Airlines flight is cancelled, you are entitled to the right to care.

American Airlines should offer meals, refreshments, and accommodation (if required) and an alternative mode of reaching your destination (or a full refund). If the cancellation is due to the airline’s error, you may also be eligible for compensation for the cancellation.

Read more: Last-Minute Flight Cancellation: Your Rights

Do I Have the Same Rights in Extraordinary Circumstances?

Yes, even in extraordinary circumstances, you still have the right to care.

Should your flight be delayed or cancelled because of bad weather, security concerns, or strikes (which have nothing to do with the airline), you will still be eligible for free meals, beverages, and accommodation if needed.

How Can I Be Reimbursed If I Had to Handle My Own Meals and Lodging?

If American Airlines did not make arrangements for meals, lodging, or airport transfers and you handled these matters independently, remember to keep your receipts and proof of payment. You can submit these along with a comprehensive list of your expenses during the delay to American Airlines for compensation. However, only essential expenses are covered under this policy.

Please note that only flights from Europe are eligible for this since American Airlines is not an EU-based airline.

Does Right to Care Apply to All American Airlines Flights?

This right applies to American Airlines flights from Europe.

European law does not cover American Airlines flights entering Europe from overseas. Flights conducted in third-party countries are also not covered.

Is This Only for European Citizens?

No, the right to care applies to all passengers, regardless of their nationality.

Passenger rights to care are covered by Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Regulation UK261, established by the European Union and the UK government. These regulations require all European airlines to provide care and compensation to affected passengers when necessary. The same laws apply to non-EU airline flights departing from Europe. As a result, American Airlines passengers, regardless of nationality, are entitled to the right to care.

However, bear in mind that since American Airlines is a non-EU airline, this regulation is only applicable to flights taking off from Europe and not those landing in Europe from other regions of the globe.

By Europe and EU here on this page (and on this website in general) we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.