When Things Go Wrong – Part 2
What Are Your Rights When Things Go Wrong At The Airport – Part 2
The other day we looked at what happens on EU flights. Today The Luxury Travel Expert ( www.luxurytravelexpert.com ) explains your rights on US flights. You can see that the EU is much more consumer friendly and has pretty explicit penalties. The US rules seem to favor the airlines and have quite a bit of potential ambiguities.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates certain air-travel rights, including passenger rights in cases of involuntary bumping or tarmac delays, but in case of a flight delay or cancellation, you will be at the mercy of your airline.
When an airline bumps you involuntarily from an oversold flight, it owes you compensation:
Bumped + short delay: Bumped passengers are entitled to cash compensation equal to double the price of their tickets up to $650, if the airline is able to get them to their destination within a short period of time (i.e., within 1 to 2 hours of their originally scheduled arrival time for domestic flights and 1 to 4 hours of their originally scheduled arrival time for international flights).
Bumped + long delay: Bumped passengers are currently entitled to four times the price of their tickets, up to $1,300, if they are delayed for a lengthy period of time (i.e., over two hours after their originally scheduled arrival time for domestic flights and over 4 hours after their originally scheduled arrival time for international flights).
Inflation adjustments are made to those compensation limits every two years. Importantly, these rules do not apply when an airline bumps a traveler for any reason other than overbooking—for example, as a result of a switch to a smaller plane, for weight-and-balance issues on planes that seat 30 to 60 passengers, or if a flight is delayed or canceled.
2. Tarmac delays
The DOT rules mandate that an airline may not keep you on a plane for more than three hours (on a domestic flight) or four hours (on an international flight), with exceptions allowed only for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons. Carriers must also provide updates to passengers every 30 minutes, and ensure that passengers stuck on the tarmac are provided adequate food and water after two hours, as well as working lavatories and any necessary medical treatment.
3. Fight delays and cancellations