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I booked a return ticket Stockholm (ARN) - Amman (AMM) - Aquaba (AQJ) and AQJ-AMM-ARN with Royal Jordanian Airlines. They emailed me that the first leg, ARN-AMM, has been cancelled.

EC261 rules clearly apply here, as the flight departs from the EU. As I understand, I am entitled to reimbursement or "re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity". (No compensation as they notified me more than 14 days in advance.)

I asked to be rebooked with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (ARN-IST-AQJ) departing the same day as originally booked. They don't want to do that, because that flight is expensive (only a few semi-flexible fares are left), and are instead trying to rebook me on BA via London (ARN-LHR-AMM-AQJ). That's much cheaper for them as only the ARN-LHR leg is on BA and the rest on RJ.

Their routing does get me to my destination (AQJ) at the originally scheduled time, but:

  • involves more flying - I have to depart earlier, and spend an extra 70 minutes on a plane compared to the TK option
  • involves an extra stop
  • gets me to Amman at 00:05 instead of 22:00 in the original booking, so even that layover, although originally planned, becomes more inconvenient

Do I have any right to insist on the shorter, more convenient, more expensive TK itinerary or can they rebook me on whatever is cheapest for them?

I'm aware that I can book flights myself and claim reimbursement for them later, but that seems very risky, as Royal Jordanian is obviously not headquartered in the EU. Even if I go to a court in Sweden, can it even force the airline to pay?

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    I'm not a lawyer nor a flight rights expert, but 70 minutes more on a plane compared to an overall travel time of 7-10 hours is something I would still consider "comparable transport conditions".
    – Sabine
    Commented Mar 6 at 13:31
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    I agree completely with Sabine and what Jordanian is doing here is common practice. All airlines will first try to re-route you on their own flights or flights operated by affiliated airlines before they buy you a ticket from a competitor. Commented Mar 6 at 15:05
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    Some interesting reading: caa.co.uk/publication/download/18744 see chapter 4. Also footnote 14 and all the references in chapter 2. You'll see that their approach is quite balanced, so it seems unlikely that if they were the regulator involved here they would side with you. While YMMV you would indeed be taking quite a risk.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 6 at 16:17
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    @EM0 that’s probably not what I would take “reasonable efforts” to mean.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 6 at 22:40
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    @Makyen I don't think that's a reasonable argumentation, unless a traveller can present a reason why a specific country is out of bounds for them. But claiming that a different transit airport makes flights not comparable for anyone, just because it could cause problems for a few individuals, seems excessive.
    – Sabine
    Commented Mar 7 at 18:04

1 Answer 1

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Royal Jordanian is in the Oneworld alliance, while Turkish is in the competing Star Alliance, so it will be quite difficult to convince RJ to endorse (pay for your ticket) on Turkish. This also explains why they want to send you via London on British Airways, because BA is a fellow Oneworld member.

More generally, if an airline changes your flights unilaterally, your choices are to accept the alternative or get a full refund and book somewhere else. You can always try to negotiate, but without frequent flyer status or an expensive business class ticket that gets you access to priority hotlines, you're unlikely to get very far.

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  • would seem to be the whole story - take the refund
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 8 at 15:42

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