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Any time I am booking I agree to the Conditions Of Carriage, without reading its contents. I once tried starting to read the conditions, only to find that my booking session ended due to the fact that I was reading the conditions of carriage. Of course then the prices increased on the next search.

My question is actually two-fold. Are the conditions of carriage standard among different airlines? How can you get to grasp to full extend of these conditions within a relatively short time frame (being the usual web session of an online booking)?

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Read IATA's version of that.. all airlines will be within IATAs limits. –  MeNoTalk May 15 '13 at 18:30
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2 Answers 2

They're often basically the same, for obvious reasons (you're flying on a plane, etc), but they do differ a little from airline to airline - regional laws apply - for example in the EU, there are more responsibilities than in other regions in terms of making sure you reach your destination.

To grasp them on one sitting? Depends how you do this. If you want to read the whole terms, well, you're in for a long read. There's a reason it's long - it's legalese (lawyer-language) and it has to be precise. It's going to be wordy.

At best, you can choose the sections you care about to focus on. Wondering about baggage? Check that. Cancellation conditions? Focus on that paragraph.

But other than that, no. You can try reading it before-hand, but as you say, by then, the prices may have gone up :)

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The Conditions or Carriage or Contract of Carriage do vary in language from airline to airline, but this is a difference of style and presentation, rather than material.

They do not usually vary from flight to flight, and you can usually obtain the conditions for major carriers from a stable link outside the booking process. If not in an obvious place on the website, a web search can turn them up e.g. the Asiana Domestic Conditions of Carriage and Asiana International Conditions of Carriage.

Fare rules are another matter, though fortunately they are usually much shorter than the CoC. To get access to fare rules, a tool like KVS or a service like ExpertFlyer will let you browse at leisure.

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