All The Reasons An Airline Could Owe You Money
By Bianca Lambert
Air travel has its perks. You can arrive at your destination faster, you can travel internationally, and you get to catch up on any movies you missed thanks to in-flight entertainment. But there are also things that can make your flight experience long and frustrating. It’s important to know your rights as an airline passenger, so you can ask for compensation when its due.
A Flight Bump
Thanks to the Department of Transportation, airlines cannot bump you without trying to make it right. Not only are you entitled to be rebooked on a flight that will get you to your destination no later than an hour after your planned arrival, but if the airline doesn’t deliver you are to compensated double the cost of the one-way fare (up to $675). If you make it to your destination more than two hours late, you are to be compensated at four times the cost of the one-way fare (up to $1,350).
Having your luggage lost is enough to make even the calmest traveler upset. Some airlines will pay $1,500 for the value of the bag and its contents if your luggage is still missing for three days. You’ll likely be made to file a claim for your bag and your belongings inside, and the airline will pay you for its “depreciated value.” In any case, the law states that each person can be paid as much as $3,500 for a lost bag.
Giving Up Your Seat Voluntarily
If you have an opportunity to give up your seat on a flight, you will be compensated. Most of the time, the airline will ask for volunteers upon online check-in or make an announcement at the gate. Airlines like United will offer up to $10,000 for a seat, though walking away with that for giving up a seat is unlikely. Be sure to negotiate on the amount and the way you receive your compensation with the airline, especially if they show a dire need for your seat.
A Missed Connection
Did the flight from your departing city take off late, causing you to miss your connection? The airline is responsible for getting you onto the next possible flight. If you end up in the airport longer than expected or overnight, check in with the gate agent (or call customer service) to ask for meal vouchers and a hotel.
When You Make It But Your Bags Don’t
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation set a rule that all domestic airlines must reimburse you for any “reasonable expenses” in the event your bags don’t make it to your destination when you do. This means the airline must financially take care of anything you have to buy while they’re tracking down your missing bag. Now, this doesn’t mean you can go on an impromptu shopping spree on their dime, but if you’re in need of a dress or a suit for a special occasion you can find a reasonable option — be sure to keep your receipts.
A Delayed Or Canceled Flight
If your flight is delayed or canceled due to inclement weather, there isn’t much you can do in this case. But, if a mechanical failure or crew issue caused the delay, you might be able to ask for an airport voucher or a night in a hotel if your delay causes you to sleep in the airport overnight. If you don’t get the customer service you think you deserve in this case (or any case), contact customer service or contact the airline on social media.