Airlines cancel more than 1,000 flights the past 2 days
What are your rights for a refund?
As the busy July 4 holiday weekend nears, airlines haven’t been able to get enough planes in the air to honor all their ticket sales.
More than 850 domestic flights were canceled and nearly 7,000 were delayed on Sunday alone, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Total flight cancellations within, into, or out of the United States as noon Monday were 747, as per flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.
Delta Air Lines had over 200 cancellations, Republic Airways and United Airlines had 196 and 122 flight cancellations, respectively, while American Airlines canceled 62 flights as of Monday afternoon.
United Airlines said last week it would cut 12% of its daily domestic flights, or about 50 flights a day, from its schedule at Newark Liberty International Airport starting in July.
The airline said it has enough pilots, crews and support staff, but “ongoing congestion challenges” and a shortage of air traffic controllers led to the flight cuts.
If your flight gets canceled or has a significant delay, here are your rights:
If your flight is canceled
If the airline cancels your flight, it will probably try to get you on another plane. But the change may not suit your plans.
If you decide not to travel, you’re entitled to a full refund, including any fees that were charged when you booked the trip, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The policy even counts for non-refundable tickets.
Keep in mind that an airline may offer you a voucher or credit instead of a refund. Beware of any restrictions or expirations dates before you accept it. Or just insist on the refund.
If you do accept a flight change, depending on the timing, ask the airline about food or lodging help. It’s not required to give you anything, but many will upon request.
And know that if a flight is canceled and you miss a cruise or an event you were traveling for, the airline is not responsible for your losses.
If your flight is delayed
It gets a little more complicated if the airline makes a significant schedule change or there is a “significant delay.” In this case, you may be entitled to a refund, but USDOT doesn’t define exactly what a “significant delay” is.
“Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances. DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis,” USDOT said on its website.
You can also get a refund if your seat is changed to a lower class of service. For example, if you paid for first class but you were downgraded, you’re owed the difference in fares, USDOT said.
If it’s a long delay, ask the airline for compensation to cover food or lodging, but it’s not required to give you anything.
You can ask the airline to see if there is a seat on another plane, or even with another airline. They’re not required to help you out, but some will. If they find another flight for you, make sure you won’t be charged a fee or a higher fare.
If you are unable to resolve a dispute with your airline, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
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Reuters contributed to this report.
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