Travel Tips April 01, 2018
7 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Even Know You Had
Whether you’re a frequent flier or just an occasional holiday-maker, it’s important to know your rights. Passengers can claim compesation for a whole host of unpleasant travel situations, from dealing with a flight delay to lost or damaged luggage.
Here’s what your rights are when…
1. You find a better ticket price after you book.
If you find a better price for the same flight after you book, DOT rules state that you’re entitled to cancel the reservations within 24 hours without a fee. However, the tickets must be for a flight leaving at least seven days in the future.
2. Your flight is delayed or canceled.
Your rights here depend on the reason for the delay or cancelation and the airline you’re flying with. Generally, weather delays are not compensated. Manmade delays on the part of the airline (including mechanical) may entitle you to things like meals in the airport, phone calls or a hotel room. You may also ask to be rebooked on the next available flight without charge.
3. Your baggage is lost.
If the airline loses your stuff, you’re generally entitled to compensation. The maximum amount of compensation for domestic flights is $2,500. For international flights, it’s $9.07 per pound up to $640 per bag. If you have to buy replacement clothing (say, for a business meeting you were flying to attend) you can also ask the airline to reimburse you for those.
4. Your baggage is damaged.
The first thing you should do if your baggage is damaged is document the damage with photographs and head straight to the airline’s office in the baggage claim area. If the airline is at fault, they’ll usually agree to a settlement in order to repair or replace the bag. Tip: photograph your luggage before you get to the airport.
5. You’re stuck on the tarmac.
If you’re flying domestically, DOT regulations don’t allow airlines to keep passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours. However, there are exceptions if the pilot feels that returning to the gate would put passenger safety at risk or significantly disrupt airport operations. No matter what, passengers must be given food and water no later than two hours after the start of the delay and be allowed access to bathrooms and medical attention.
6. You’re bumped involuntarily.
If you’re bumped from your flight involuntarily, you’re entitled to check or cash compensation. The amount will vary depending on the price of your ticket and how long you are delayed, but cannot be paid in vouchers. However, if the airline gets you to your destination on another flight within an hour of your original scheduled arrival time, they’re not required to compensate you.
7. Your flight is overbooked.
Its rare, but sometimes flights are overbooked. If you volunteer to be bumped from a flight when the airline announces the situation, you’ll be compensated with flight vouchers for future travel, up to $10,000 on some airlines. Not only that, but you’ll be given priority seating on the next flight out and other extras like lounge access and food vouchers.
Hopefully this list helps you get what you’re owed the next time you fly. And don’t forget: you might also be owed more than $700 if your flight has been
delayed in the past three years.