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Compensation for Flight Delays & Cancellations


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A little while back a BM posted a question about what expectation he should have for compensation for a delayed flight out of swampy. This caused me to do a little digging about what my rights are when it comes to international flight delays, cancellations, and lost bags.


What I’ve found is that, when it comes to canceled or delayed flights, as a US citizen, I actually have very few rights or government backed courses of action. (surprise, surprise) However, our European friends are not as restricted. In fact, EU based flights entitle the passenger up to €600 in compensation for significant delays or cancellations.


Details can be found on the following two web pages:





Being bumped from a flight, without volunteering, has a very different set of rules. And, if your bags are lost, or even just delayed for any length of time, you can reasonably expect compensation for your inconvenience.


 1. If you’re bumped from a flight, never accept a travel voucher. You’re entitled to a cash payment on the spot of up to $1200 depending on the length of the delay.

 2. Even if your luggage is merely delayed rather than permanently lost, you’re entitled to monetary compensation—not just a few bucks for a toothbrush. Maximum compensation on a domestic itinerary is $3,300; on an international one, approximately $1500.

 3. You have the right to book an airfare and put it on hold at the same price for 24 hours, without payment.

 4. If you’re flying from or within the European Union, you have additional rights in the case of delay or cancellation, including hotel, meals, and monetary compensation, if the problem was within the “reasonable control” of the airline.

 5. If your flight is severely delayed or cancelled, most airlines will allow you to request a full refund, even on a non-refundable fare, if you choose not to fly.

 6. However, airline schedules are not guaranteed and if the new schedule doesn’t suit you your only recourse is to request a refund.

 7. Some airlines, according to their contracts of carriage, will (at their discretion) re-route you on another airline in the event of a cancellation. For example, Rule 24 in United’s contract states “[united will] reroute Passengers over the lines of one or more carriers in the same class of service when a Change in Schedule results in the cancellation of all UA service between two cities.” Alaska Airlines has a similar rule, and it never hurts to ask to be rerouted on another carrier even if there’s nothing stated in the airline’s contract.

Credit to: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/personal-finance-reference-guide/travel-advice-airfare-watchdog.

Individual carriers have different terms outlined in their contract of carriage. Take the time to read it. Being informed is being well armed. Most of us tend to travel with the same airlines on a repeat basis, so it's worth the minimal effort. 

None of us want or expect to have issues when traveling on holiday, but as with anything else, it's always well worth being informed and prepared. For me, it's just one more bit of knowledge to tuck away in my memory. (And, my PDA knowledge base.)







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