Help Desk FAQ



Can I get damages when my flight is delayed or canceled?

An airline might provide things like meal vouchers and, for overnight delays, free hotel accommodations, but the law doesn't mandate compensation for delayed or canceled domestic flights; every airline sets its own policies. If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their next available flight to your destination. If you face a significant delay to your destination, you can ask if the airline will transfer your ticket to another carrier if you can find an earlier flight with another company. You can also ask for a full refund and use that money to book a flight on a different airline. (If a cancelled flight means an overnight stay, airlines sometimes put non-local passengers up in a hotel and/or pay for meals, but, again, this isn't required by law.)

On certain international flights, however, airlines are liable for damages unless the airline can prove it did everything possible to prevent the repercussions of the delay or that there was nothing it could do (for example, a delay due to bad weather or a workers' strike). AirHelp outlines the compensation for international flight disruptions in general and EU flight delays.

If the purpose of your trip is to close a potentially lucrative business deal, to give a speech or lecture, to attend a family function or to be present at any time-sensitive event, you might want to allow a little extra time and take an earlier flight. In other words, airline delays and cancellations are not unusual, so plan accordingly and don't cut it too close when time is your most important consideration.

Learn more in the Fall 2018 “Airline Passenger Rights” issue of Consumer Action News.






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Consumer Help Desk