Does the US DOT policy for airlines to "hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty" apply to foreign airlines on wholly foreign itineraries?

I'm booking from a physical location in the US but the flight will be between two foreign destinations on a foreign airline.

If it doesn't generally hold, what is the policy for BA on flights within Europe?

  • 1
    BA allows you to cancel without penalty within 24 hours of booking for flight-only itineraries, so you could always just book then cancel within 24 hours if needed, rather than using a hold – Gagravarr Mar 21 '16 at 23:27
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    To answer your specific question, in your case the DOT rules will not apply since the airlines are not flying in the US. – Burhan Khalid Mar 22 '16 at 8:15
  • @BurhanKhalid: Thanks for your answer. Do you have a source on that? I'm under the impression that US airlines are still under DOT rules when flying entirely outside the US although I could be wrong. Feel free to post as an actual answer as well so I can close the question. :) – arcyqwerty Mar 22 '16 at 15:33
  • @Gagravarr, thanks! I had looked at some other FAQs on BA's site but didn't come across that one. – arcyqwerty Mar 22 '16 at 15:36

Rules that apply for airlines are based on two things:

  1. The rules of the country under which the airline is registered.
  2. The rules of the relevant authority that has jurisdiction over the airspace in which it is operating.

In your specific question, you are asking about a foreign airline. These airlines are only bound by US rules when operating to/from the US.

Therefore, any DOT rules or other FAA regulations do not apply - in your specific case.

However, if a foreign airline is operating to/from the US, then it is bound by the rules enforced in that jurisdiction in addition to any rules that it is bound to based on the airline's home domicile.

A recent example of this was the case of Kuwait Airways, which was sued under US non-discrimination rules for refusing to selling a ticket to an Israeli citizen on their flight from JFK to London.

In that case, Kuwait Airways was bound by Kuwaiti Law which prohibits dealing with Israeli citizens or companies. The airline argued (unsuccessfully) that it was bound by its own rules and was not discriminating.

In the end, the airline decided to stop their JFK to London service as it could not circumvent its own country's laws and satisfy US regulations at the same time.

They still operate their JFK to Kuwait service (which is a non-stop flight).

You can read more about it at this website.

Specifically for your situation; most airline websites - and all travel agents allow you to hold a reservation for a certain time. That is, the seat is blocked for you, and you have to pay within a certain time period to keep the reservation.

I have often done this when applying for visas where you are not guaranteed an approval and may be on the hook for any cancellation charges if you book a flight.

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