Air Travelers Passenger Rights New Guide To Passenger Rights
Have you ever been a victim of flight delays, rescheduled or cancelled flight and wondered what your rights are or if you have any with the airline. Many passengers are unaware of their rights and when this happens. Each airline is required to provide a Contract of Carriage and customer service. To obtain a copy of the Carriage or Contract, you can visit each airline site which will describe the “Contract of Carriage”.
You should take the time to become familiar with the service policies before flying to your destination. Many of the
airline employees may or may not be familiar with their own policies, if you have a copy of the policies you are in a
better position to negotiate a reasonable solution or to ask for a hotel for the night and be put on the next flight out.
Airline Disclosure of Taxes and Fees in Published Fares
As of January 26 2012, the DOT requires airlines to include all mandatory taxes and fees in published airfares. Airlines
are required to disclose baggage fees, though this can come in the form of a link to another Web page with the baggage
Need to Change or Cancel the Ticket
If you realize within 24 hours of buying your ticket that you need to change or cancel it, you can do this without
penalty (assuming you’re booking at least 1 week before departure). You can also hold a reservation for 24 hours before
paying for it.
After 24-hours the ticket purchase becomes binding and you are stuck with whatever the airline’s change and cancellation
penalties are. For a non-refundable fare, penalties can range from $100 – $150 for domestic and $150 – $500 for
international tickets. Also, ticket cannot be transfer to someone else. You’d need to cancel your ticket, with any
penalties that entails, and book an entirely new one for the new passenger.
Airlines are required to give you notice of delays, cancellations and route changes. Airlines can still change your
routing drastically, for example from a nonstop flight to one involving several connections, even if the airline still
flies the original nonstop route. The only recourse is to get a full refund for the full value of the ticket without
cancellation fee’s. You should still seek to be reinstated on your original flight however, even if the airline has no
If the airline changes your scheduled flight to a different time or day, you aren’t legally entitled to any compensation,
only a refund of the ticket price you paid. The airline won’t cover any incidental costs either, such as the fare
difference of having to book a more expensive flight on another airline or that you’ll now need to spend an extra night
in a hotel, etc.—all of that is at your own expense. Unfortunately even most travel insurance policies won’t cover this
Baggage Fee Coordination
The airlines are required to disclose the baggage fees and allowances to apply to all segments of your trip, If you don’t
have the same baggage fees and allowances for your trip and are overcharged, the airlines are required to reimburse you.
If the flight is overbooked and you’re bumped from a domestic flight and arrive one to two hours later than your
scheduled arrival time, you’re entitled to the one-way fare of your ticket up to $400. If you’re delayed two to four
hours from your original scheduled arrival time, you’re entitled to 200% of the one-way fare, up to $650; if you arrive
more than four hours later than your scheduled arrival time you’re entitled to 400% of the one-way fare, up to $1300.
You’re entitled to payment in cash, so if the airline tries to give you a voucher, insist on cash, since vouchers usually
come with restrictions and can sometimes only be redeemed at the airport itself. If you’re bumped and the airline rebooks
you on a flight that arrives less than one hour after your scheduled arrival time, you aren’t legally entitled to any
compensation, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for a goodwill gesture, such as frequent flyer miles.
International flight departing from the U.S.:
You’ll receive 200% of the one-way fare, up to $650 if you arrive one to four hours after your scheduled arrival time; if
you arrive more than four hours later than your scheduled arrival time you’re entitled to 400% of the one-way fare, up to
Listed below are a few brief examples of Contract of Carriage by the airlines.
As an example with United Airlines, if a United flights has been delayed because of WEATHER, it’s consider a delay beyond
the airlines control and the airline will attempt to rebook the passenger on the next available United Flight.
Unite Flight Delay Within the Airline Control:
If a delay occurs (other than weather) or a schedule “irregularity” for more than 4-hours between 10pm and 6am, United
will provide 1-nights lodging or United will arrange to fly the passenger on its own flights to the destination, reroute
the passenger over the line of one or more carriers in an equivalent class of service when a change in schedule resulted
in the cancellation of all United service between two cities.
Overbooking (Involuntarily Denied Boarding)
If United oversold a flight and asks for Volunteers, United can negotiate passage for the volunteer to arrive at their
destination sometimes a day later and receive some sort of airline credit to be used at a later date. If you are
involuntarily denied boarding due to an oversold flight, United will compensate you up to 200% of the fare or a maximum
Spirit Airlines will not assume any expense as a result of flight delay, cancellation or schedule change. Spirit
Airlines will not provide lodging due to the delayed or cancellation in flight originating city. Spirit Airlines will try
to re-accommodate passengers if they miss connection due to a delayed flight or the flight has been canceled.
Spirit Airlines – Weather Cancellation or Cancellation Beyond Spirit Airlines Control
If a cancellation occurs due to weather, air-traffic-control decisions, or other issues outside of Spirit’s control,
Spirit airlines will not provide accommodations, Spirit will only attempt to provide customers with information where to
get a hotel room and try to re-accommodate them on the next available flight.
American Cancellations or Delays Within its Control
American will try to reroute the passenger on the next flight with available seats. If American does not get the traveler
to his or her final destination on the expected arrival day, the airlines will provide reasonable overnight
accommodations, subject to availability.
American Cancellations due to Weather or Beyond the Airlines Control
If a flight is canceled due to circumstances beyond the airline’s control, the traveler is responsible for his or her own
overnight accommodations, meals, and incidental expenses.
Overbooking’s (Involuntarily Denied Boarding)
American Airlines will provide to passenger denied boarding involuntarily, payment of denied-boarding compensation from
Cancellations Within Airline Control
If the flight is delayed, canceled, diverted, or if the passenger misses a connecting flight due to controllable
situations, Frontier will place the passenger on their next available flight at no additional charge or fare.
When a passenger is delayed because of a change in Frontier’s schedule, arrangements will be made to transport the
passenger over its route system to the destination, next stopover point, or connecting point shown on its portion of the
ticket, without stopover when possible, and to refund the ticket or unused portion of the ticket in accordance with
Cancellations Beyond Airline Control
Frontier will place customers on the next available flight to their destination at no additional charge or fare. If
Frontier can’t get a customer on a Frontier flight scheduled to arrive within three hours of the original itinerary,
staff will try to arrange for the passenger to fly on another available carrier or combination of carriers with whom
Frontier has agreements.
Cancellations or Delays Within its Control
If a Frontier flight is delayed, canceled, or diverted, or if the passenger misses a connecting flight due to
controllable situations, Frontier will place the passenger on their next available flight at no additional charge or
fare.Passenger onward transportation will be provided if a delay or missed connection due to a schedule irregularity.
Frontier will transport passengers on its own route system without stopover on its next available flight at no additional
cost. If the airline is unable to provide onward transportation over its own route system that arrives within three hours
of the passenger’s original itinerary, Frontier will attempt to arrange for the passenger’s transportation on another
carrier or combination of carriers if available with whom Frontier has ticketing and baggage agreements for such
transportation, and Frontier will provide a refund of the unused portion of the ticket if the passenger chooses not to
travel. These are just a few brief descriptions of the airlines “Contract of Service”.
Frontier Overbookings (Involuntarily Denied Boarding)
Passengers on a flight with an overbooking will be encouraged to voluntarily relinquish their seats in exchange for
alternate travel and for compensation in the form of an electronic certificate for future transportation on Frontier.
Cancellations Within Airline Control
In the event of a flight cancellation, diversion, a delay of more than 90 minutes, or a delay that will cause a passenger
to miss connections, Delta will (at passenger’s request) cancel the remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of the
ticket and unused ancillary fees in the original form of payment.
If the passenger does not request a refund and cancellation of the ticket, Delta will transport the passenger to the
destination on Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class of service originally purchased. At Delta’s
sole discretion and if acceptable to the passenger, Delta may arrange for the passenger to travel on another carrier or
via ground transportation. If acceptable to the passenger, Delta will provide transportation in a lower class of service,
in which case the passenger may be entitled to a partial refund. If space on the next available flight is available only
in a higher class of service than purchased, Delta will transport the passenger on the flight, although Delta reserves
the right to upgrade other passengers on the flight according to its upgrade priority policy to make space in the class
of service originally purchased.
Cancellations Beyond Airline Control
Delta has no liability if the flight cancellation was due to force majeure, which includes weather conditions and other
However, when for reasons other than force majeure a passenger’s travel is interrupted for more than four hours after the
scheduled departure time as a result of flight cancellation or delay on the date of travel, Delta will provide the
passenger with the following additional amenities during the delay: If overnight accommodations are available at Delta-
contracted facilities, Delta will provide the passenger with a voucher for one night’s lodging when the delay is between
10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
If you questions, please call our Belize, Costa Rica & Peru TravelPOINTS office at 1-800-626-3483 and we will be able to help you with your airlines reservations to any destination in the world. Talk with one of our travel experts for complete details. Visit our Travel Experts…