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Airline Passenger Rights Everyone Should Know


Nurgul Sultanova-Chetin

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Flights are often frustrating, so you need to know what can be changed. As a passenger, you have certain rights established by the US Department of Transportation for delays, cancellations, and other unforeseen situations. Informs about the rights of passengers during the flight Life hacker.

You are entitled to compensation for being removed from your flight

airlines usually resell their flights so as not to lose money due to no-show. This means that there are actually not enough seats if everyone who has booked and received a confirmed seat decides to travel.

Airlines are required to ask volunteers to give up their seats before they begin to remove people from a flight. They are not required to compensate volunteers, although you do have some market advantage. Airlines don't want to piss people off by unwittingly taking them off a flight. You can negotiate a free ticket or other travel vouchers. But be sure to check the information about the restrictions. For example, before agreeing to the terms, you need to clarify the expiration dates.

On the subject: Free health insurance in New York: who is eligible and under what conditions

Lawyer's recommendations

If you are removed from a flight without your consent, you are entitled to compensation. Attorney Erica Cullberg has several videos showing this process and other airline reimbursement techniques. The amount depends on how late you arrive at your destination (compared to your original arrival time):

  • 1 hour or less: no compensation
  • 1 to 2 hours (1 to 4 hours on international flights): a minimum of 200% of the original one-way rate or $ 775, whichever is less.
  • 2 hours or more (4 hours or more on international flights): a minimum of 400% of your original one-way fare, or $ 1550, whichever is less.
  • If you paid using frequent flyer miles, the refund is based on the lowest amount paid for the same ticket on your flight. The airline must refund, among other things, fees for seat selection, baggage check-in and other additional services if you do not receive these services during the trip. While some airlines may offer tickets or vouchers for those who unwittingly encounter this, you may be entitled to request a cash check instead.

Fine print and baggage rules

  • Of course, there are points indicated in small print. If you check in late or do not have a confirmed booking, you will most likely lose your right to compensation. Airlines also do not have to pay compensation if they have to use a smaller aircraft. Finally, you have the opportunity to negotiate more than what is offered to you at the airport. But this is only possible for 30 days and if you don't cash the compensation check.
  • You may receive compensation for delayed, damaged or lost baggage.
  • Baggage rules are a little more vague than those for unintentional removal from a flight. However, most airlines will settle for external damage to your bags or belongings. Although they can always claim that the packaging was not enough to protect your belongings. They can also reimburse you for "reasonable" expenses or emergency purchases while your luggage is delayed.
  • If the airline completely loses your baggage, you are entitled to a refund of any fees and can file a complaint. You will need documentation to prove the value of your items and will likely have to negotiate. This process takes from one to three months and may end unsatisfactorily. Airlines sometimes offer free tickets instead or reject claims entirely. They will not pay more than the current $3800 liability limit.

Flight delays and waiting times

  • You are entitled to food and water during long delays on the runway.
  • If a plane is on the runway for two or more hours, waiting for takeoff or landing, the airline must provide passengers with food and water, as well as access to toilets and medical assistance. Generally, aircraft are not allowed to remain on the runway for more than three hours. Exceptions are cases related to security or airport disruptions.
  • You are not guaranteed compensation for delays.
  • Flight delays are an inevitable part of the journey, and there is little we can do but wait them out. The airlines do not make timetable guarantees, and no federal regulation requires them to take any action for you if your plane is delayed on a domestic flight. You may be able to get a meal voucher, which is not much of a consolation for the extra time spent at the busy airport. Check your airline's specific policies to find out what your guarantees are.
  • On international flights, you can file a claim with the airline for reimbursement, although reimbursement is not guaranteed.

DOT and ADA Rules

  • DOT regulations require airlines to refund your money in the event of "significant schedule changes" or "significant delays" if you decide not to fly as a result, but these situations are not specifically defined. Airlines are required to refund your money if they cancel your flight and you decide not to fly.
  • You have 24 hours to cancel your ticket after booking.
  • If you book your flight directly with the airline at least seven days in advance, you can cancel and receive a refund without penalties or fees within 24 hours. You also have the right to "hold" the ticket at the indicated price for the same period. This does not necessarily apply to bookings through a third party website or travel agency, so read the fine print first.
  • Airlines are required to clearly state all fares, taxes and charges in accordance with the full fare DOT rule to minimize confusion and surprises, although this protection cannot last forever.
  • You have the right to accommodations for people with disabilities.
  • Airlines and airports must comply with certain rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA). There are certain accommodation options that require advance notice (24-48 hours prior to travel). DOT has a complete consumer guide to these rights.
  • You have the right to complain.
  • Complaints don't always get you what you want, but they certainly do help. Airlines are required to provide information on filing complaints on their website, along with your ticket, and upon request at the airport. They are required to confirm your written complaint within 30 days and respond within 60 days.
  • You can also complain to DOT about airline services online or by calling 202-366-2220.
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