Arriving home after a long business trip or a family vacation, the last thing you want to see when you check the departures board is that your flight has been delayed. But it happens, and it always seems to be at the worst possible time. Many travelers feel they should receive flight delay compensation for delayed or cancelled flights, but unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
Airlines Aren’t Required to Compensate for Delays
Airlines do their best to ensure their flights leave and arrive on time, but delays happen. Sometimes they are unavoidable, like a weather event that makes it unsafe for planes to take off or land. In other cases, the delay may be the fault of the airline, due to a mechanical failure or an error in scheduling. In any case, US airlines do not have to provide compensation for flight delays or even cancelations.
If your flight is canceled entirely, the airline is only obligated to put you on the next flight that has an open seat to get you to your destination. If you happen to be traveling during a peak period, like a holiday weekend or spring break, it may take some time to find you an available seat. Even so, the airline isn’t required to compensate you. If you decide to forgo your flight and get there another way, you would be entitled to a refund for the portion of your ticket you didn’t use.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation
If your flight is overbooked and the airline cannot find enough passengers to give up their seats voluntarily, some passengers may have to be denied boarding. If this happens to you, you may receive compensation for being ‘bumped’. The airline is required to put you on the next available flight. They are also required to pay you twice the cost of your ticket if your new arrival time is up to two hours later than your original flight, and four times the cost of your ticket if your new arrival time is later. Reimbursement is capped at £510 per passenger for a delay of over 3 hours.
Some Airlines Try to Make Amends
Some airlines will try to make up for the inconvenience of a delayed or canceled flight in the name of good customer service. They may offer you credit that can be used toward a future flight. Some will provide free food or free movies on a delayed flight once it takes off. They are not obligated to make these concessions, and they can vary based on the circumstances of the delay, such as whether it is the airline’s fault.
I hope you found this information helpful. Thanks for reading! Have you ever had a flight delayed or canceled, or been bumped? Share your story in the comments below.