Q: Peter, here is a Rule 240 question. Let's say a plane is headed from Denver to Chicago and is late leaving Denver because of weather. Can I be 240'd on my Chicago connecting flight, or does the weather exception apply to the whole country or system? Knowing my aircraft is off schedule and is not arriving in Chicago on time, I'd like to know what can I do?
–Robert, Crete, Ill.
A: I'm assuming that you're asking if you can invoke Rule 240 to get some sort of compensation because bad weather caused you to miss your connecting flight in Chicago. If so, the answer is no. Rule 240 only applies to delays caused by mechanical failure or other irregularities, NOT weather.
But Rule 240 is somewhat irrelevant here. Assuming that your connecting flight was on the same airline as your first flight, you should simply call the airline's 800 number or go to the customer-service counter and ask to be scheduled on the next available flight. If you paid for a ticket from Denver to New York via Chicago, the airline is obligated to get you to your final destination, whether or not you missed one of the connections. They just may not get you there very fast.
Even if your flights were on two separate airlines, you still have recourse in the event of a weather delay. If the two airlines have an inter-airline agreement (or if your two flights were part of a single, linked reservation), the contract of carriage most likely states that you are entitled to be put on the next available flight to your destination. However, if your two flights were booked on two separate reservations that are not linked, no one is obligated to help you get to your destination.