Know Your Fly Rights

by Chris Bjorklund


I don’t know about you, but I’m getting my travel mojo back and will be flying both domestically and internationally this summer. Given all the forecasts about what a nightmare it’s going to be at many airports, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you know your rights in case your flight gets delayed or canceled, you get bumped, or your luggage goes missing.

According to the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, you can change or cancel a ticket within 24 hours of purchase without a fee. Each airline has policies about what they’ll do for customers in the event of a canceled or delayed flight—you can find that information on their website. Delays that happen on the tarmac are governed by federal rules. Food and water must be provided no more than two hours after the start of the delay and bathrooms have to be in working order. Longer holds allow for deplaning within three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights.

Bumping can be voluntary, and in that case, you’re entitled to rewards that you can negotiate for giving up your seat on an overbooked flight. When bumped involuntarily, your compensation can be as much as double the price of your ticket. For lost and damaged luggage, the airlines have to compensate you for your belongings and the baggage fees. The maximum liability is now $3,800. 

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