Flying home over the holidays? You and some 27 million people will travel on US airlines over Thanksgiving. Volumes like that, coupled with bad weather could mean delays or even cancellations. So, know your rights when your travel plans go astray.
In addition to weather delays, there are also mechanical issues as well as staff sickness that come into play, causing delays. If things do go wrong, you are entitled to help, and sometimes compensation. Firstly, get to the airport early. If your flight is delayed by more than 30 minutes, your airline is required to let you know. There are no rules saying that the airline is required to give you hotel or food vouchers, but many larger airlines will, particularly if you are flying overseas. It never hurts to ask. If the delay is so long that you have to cancel your trip, you should get your money back. Airlines often oversell, knowing that there are some people who will not make the flight. Therefore, you might hear the announcement at the gate asking people to voluntarily take a later flight.
If you do get bumped from your flight, ask for a notice of your rights, as well as compensation. When it comes to delays on the tarmac, airlines are not allowed to keep you on board the plane for more than three hours for a delay. If your baggage does not arrive at the airport when you do, you can be compensated for things like a toothbrush and clean underwear. If you do lose your bag, call the airline’s help line. Often you can get faster service than standing in line at the airport. It never hurts to be prepared.