Tourists wishing to return home face thousands of flight cancellations and delays major snowstorms in much of the U.S. and a shortage of staff, which airlines blame for the rapid rise in COVID-19 contamination among crews.
More than 3,000 US flights were canceled Monday night by ET, another 5,600 were postponed, according to the tracking service FlightAware. This is in addition to the more than 5,300 U.S. flights that were suspended over the weekend.
The situation has led to travelers, some for several days, being in cities away from home, forcing them to pay for unexpected hotel accommodation, meals and other expenses while they wait to sit home.
This is without a doubt a disappointment for consumers who have found themselves in such a predicament through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, those who want to reimburse additional costs from airlines that do not fall under federal regulations when it comes to this type of consumer protection have few options.
What happens if my flight is delayed? Am I entitled to compensation from the airline?
USA Department of Transportation says no.
“There are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide passengers with money or other compensation if their flights are delayed,” DOT reported.
Some airlines offer to pay for meals or hotel accommodation if there are long delays, but this is not a policy at all. The agency says such costs can be claimed from the airline, but this is entirely at the discretion of the company.
Can I switch to another flight?
Maybe. Passengers can ask to be booked for another flight of the same airline. But DOT warns travelers to check whether the airline will charge extra for the transfer or charge a higher price for new bookings.
You can also request a seat at another airline if a seat is available. “However, there are no federal rules that require airlines to send you on another airline flight or reimburse you if you buy a ticket from another airline,” the DOT said. This can also create new problems with tracking or flying with checked baggage.
There was a significant delay. Can I just get my money back?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the DOT did not identify a “significant delay”, so the department “determines whether you are entitled to a refund in each case.”
Ek! My flight was canceled. What is happening now?
The good news is that most airlines will rebook you for the next flight to your destination for free as long as there are free seats on the flight. If they are not, be prepared to give your most polite voice. DOT offers to ask you to transfer your ticket to another airline.
Here’s one potentially good news: if you decide to cancel your trip after the flight is canceled, “you are entitled to a refund for unused transport – even for non-refundable tickets,” the DOT said. “You are also entitled to a refund of any fee for the bag you paid for and any additional funds you may have purchased, such as a destination location.”
If you can, try to get your money, not a voucher that may expire or sometimes contain restrictions, eclipse dates, additional booking requirements, and seat limits.
The airline booked a flight and I was shot down. What am I doing?
They are called involuntary strikes, and George Hobby, founder of airfarewatchdog.com, told NPR they happen rarely because passengers often book on alternative flights.
But in cases where it is impossible to get you to your destination close to your originally scheduled arrival time, you can get up to $ 1,550 or 400% of the one-way fare. according to DOT.
I bought a ticket with a credit card. Can they help?
Yes! It turns out some credit cards provide much better protection than government ones.
In many cases, concessional programs include trip cancellation / trip insurance, trip delay insurance and luggage insurance. Credit card companies can also help arrange new itineraries and reimburse travelers for costs resulting from delays or other delays, including extra hotel accommodation, car rentals or extra meals. Some offer travel delay insurance, which “works if your trip is delayed for a certain number of hours or if it requires an unexpected overnight stay,” CNBC reports.