RICH THOMASELLI | TravelPulse.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Travel
It’s no secret that the last week and a half have been chaotic for air travel – nearly 10,000 cancellations and 45,000 delays due to a combination of Omicron depleting already short-staffed airlines and weather issues in the West and Midwest.
And it’s not expected to get much better this coming week.
So what are your options if your flight is canceled?
Inquiring fliers not only want to know, but they also need to know in order to protect themselves.
– If the airline is at fault and cancels your flight, you are owed a refund if you decline to take the offer of another flight. Simple as that. It’s a federal law. Airlines must refund your fare. That said, there are three issues. One, you never know when you’re going to get your money back. Two, the airlines will try hard to barter with you to get on another flight or offer you credit with the airline. And three, “You can always get your money back if they can’t accommodate you, but it doesn’t get you home,” Brett Snyder, who runs a travel concierge service and the Cranky Flier travel website, told CNBC.
– If a flight is significantly delayed, you also could be entitled to a refund. Again, another issue, however: the Department of Transportation (DOT) determines whether you are entitled to a refund based on length of the delay and other factors.
– You can always rebook your canceled flight at no extra charge, but try to do it through the airline’s app. Have you tried to call the airlines lately? Some folks have experienced hold times between 10 and 20 hours.
– If you decide to cancel your flight, there is no refund but most airlines will allow you to rebook for another date with no change fee. Watch for the difference in airfare, however, which you are responsible for. That flight for $400 roundtrip you paid for might be $700 on a different day and time.
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