Know Your Passenger Rights

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By: Orlando Morales | Jimmy Rhoades Posted: 1:57 PM, Jul 28, 2022 Updated: 4:00 PM, Jul 28, 2022

This year you’ve no doubt heard a lot of stories about flight cancellations and delays. Between worker shortages and a record number of people flying, many airlines are warning that the problem could get even worse. And while these interruptions can hurt your travel plans, they don’t have to punish your pocketbook. Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights walks us through federal laws that protect airline passengers.

Ask for cash

Airlines aren’t happy about this, but under federal law, if an airline cancels your flight you’re entitled to a full cash refund. Period. The airline won’t make it easy on the website, so you might have to call customer service; if they resist, contact the Department of Transportation — they have an enforcement office to make sure you get the refund you’re owed.

Get delayed, get paid

If you’re involuntarily delayed for more than two hours, you’re getting paid. When you get bumped against your will, you’re entitled to up to $1,550 cash. For a 1-2 hour bump, up to $775. On top of the money, flight experts say inconvenienced passengers can ask airlines to sweeten the deal with things like lounge access, upgrades, hotels, or meal vouchers.

The 24-hour rule

Buy a ticket and have second thoughts? From the moment you hit purchase, there’s a 24-hour grace period to cancel that purchase and get a full refund. This rule allows you to lock in a cheap rate before comparison shopping or confirming your plans. The only caveats: the ticket has to be booked directly with the airline, and it has to be at least a week out from your flight.

Knowing your rights when you’re booking your flights, makes for happy travels.