Airline Passenger Bill of Rights-What Are Flyers' Rights?
Hilary Stockton

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Airline Passenger Bill of Rights-What Are Flyers' Rights?


While you probably know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has gotten stricter about tarmac delays, what are your rights as an airline passenger in other scenarios? Here are some of the flyer rights issues we get asked about the most. As always, make sure to check the Contract of Carriage for the airline you’re flying.

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, instead of simply putting asterisks with all the taxes and fees in the fine print. Airlines must also disclose baggage fees, though this can come in the form of a link to another Web page with the baggage fee information.

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.

Note, though, that if it’s after the 24 hour window, you’re stuck with whatever the airline’s change and cancellation penalties are. For a non-refundable fare, penalties can be steep--$150 or more—and this hasn’t changed. Also note that you can’t transfer the ticket 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.

Route Change

DOT now requires airlines to give you prompt notification of delays, cancellations and route changes. Unfortunately, while notification is required, 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. As maddening as it is, your only recourse in this scenario is to get a full refund of the fare (which the airline should give you without imposing any cancellation penalties, even for a nonrefundable fare) and rebook (at your own expense) a more suitable flight. You should still seek to be reinstated on your original flight however, even if the airline has no contractual obligation to comply. See our post How to Complain to Airlines and Hotels and Get Compensated.

Schedule Change

Similar to the routing changes, 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 scenario.

Baggage Fee Coordination

The DOT now requires the same baggage fees and allowances to apply to all segments of your trip, putting the onus on the airlines to coordinate this. 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 $1300.



The European Union’s Regulation 261/2004 applies if:

  • Your flight is departing from an airport located in an EU Member State; or
  • Traveling to an EU Member State on an airline based in an EU Member State

If you have a confirmed reservation on the flight and arrived in time for check-in, UNLESS you’re travelling on a free or discounted ticket (does not include a frequent flyer ticket; so you are still covered by EU 261/2004 on an award ticket).

There are three components of compensation: cash compensation, rerouting or refunding, and refreshments/communication/accommodation.

Cash compensation depends on the length of your flight:

  1. Flight of <1500 km: 250 EUR
  2. Flight within the EU >1500 km; OR any flight >1500 km but <3500 km: 400 EUR
  3. Flight not within the EU >3500 km: 600 EUR
Cash compenstion is due not only for cancellations, but also for flights that are delayed and arrive more than 3 hours later than their scheduled arrival time. Also see Getting United to Pay EU Compensation for a Flight Delay for our advice on getting a U.S. carrier to pay compensation on a flight from or to an EU destination when that flight is cancelled or severely delayed and there is no "extraordinary circumstance" defense.

Rerouting or refunding

The passenger may choose one of these three options:

  • Airline reimburses the cost of the unused flight tickets, and for used tickets where the flight taken no longer serves any purpose for the passenger’s original travel plan. In the latter case, the airline must provide a flight back to the original point of departure at the earliest opportunity.
  • Airline reroutes passenger under similar conditions to the intended final destination at the earliest opportunity.
  • Airline reroutes passenger under similar conditions to the intended final destination at the passenger’s leisure, subject to the availability of seats

Refreshments, Communication and Accommodation

The airline is required to provide to delayed passengers, free of charge:

  • Meals and refreshments in proportion to waiting time
  • Two phone calls or emails
  • Hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and hotel, if a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary

The airline may only reduce or withdraw these entitlements if offering them would delay the flight further.


Delayed or Canceled Flight

As with routing and schedule changes, your main option in the face of any kind of significant delay is usually to get a refund of the unused portion of your ticket. You need to check the contract of carriage for your airline. For example, Delta provides that for cancellations or “delays of greater than 90 minutes, or delays that will cause a passenger to miss connections” Delta will, upon your request, cancel the remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of it. If the delay or cancellation requires an overnight stay, airlines will typically provide overnight accommodation if the delay was within the airline’s control, such as a mechanical issue. If the delay is due to a “force majeure” event, however, such as weather, the contract of carriage usually does not require the airline to provide anything, so vouchers, etc. are at the airline’s discretion.

Also at the airline’s discretion is whether to put you on another carrier. Typically the contract of carriage only stipulates that the airline will put you on its own next available flight. For example, American Airlines provides “When cancellations and major delays are experienced, you will be rerouted on our next flight with available seats.”

American Airlines Contract of Carriage for Delays

Delta Airlines Contract of Carriage (Domestic)

United Airlines Contract of Carriage

US Airways Contract of Carriage

Seat Selection

If you pre-selected an aisle in the bulkhead are you owed compensation if the airline changes it to a middle seat in the back of the aircraft? The answer is no—seat assignments aren’t part of the contract of carriage, so unfortunately there’s no remedy or compensation owed if the airline puts you in a different seat. Of course, if you are forced out of your first class seat into a coach seat, you should be able to get the fare difference (or miles, if an award) back from the airline, given the different class of service.


Tarmac Delays

DOT rules prohibit tarmac delays of more than three hours for domestic flights with the following exceptions: 1) If the pilot-in-command determines there is a safety or security-related reason why the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers; or 2) Airport air traffic control advises the pilot-in-command that returning to the gate or another point to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.


Delayed Baggage

What if you’re flying to your destination wedding and your luggage, containing your wedding dress, is delayed? While our first recommendation would be to not pack anything valuable in your checked luggage (see Tips for Making Sure Your Luggage Doesn’t Get Lost) sometimes, with a bulky wedding dress, it can’t be avoided.

  • Make sure to notify a baggage representative promptly, at the airport, within 4 hours of arriving at your destination
  • Check with the representative for the airline’s reimbursement guidelines. Typically only basic toiletries and essential items will be covered
  • Keep all receipts for your purchases, so that you can submit them for reimbursement


Lost Luggage

If the airline really did lose your checked bags entirely, and it was domestic travel, the airline is required to reimburse you for up to $3300. However, the airline may request receipts or proof of purchase for the claimed items and will only reimburse the depreciated value of your suitcase and its contents. It really helps to have a list of everything you packed (if not receipts) for this purpose. Note that if you’re flying internationally, compensation will depend on the country and carrier, so it may be much lower.

Related Posts

Getting United to Pay EU Compensation for a Flight Delay

How to Complain to Airlines and Get Compensated

Best and Worst U.S. Airlines: Late Flights, Cancellations, Lost Luggage

Tips to Avoid and Deal with Lost Luggage 

Airline Ticket Name Change or Transfer to Another Person?

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Picture?type=large Sherri J. commented 19 Mar 2012
Is there a time limit one must apply for compensation? Flight pdx to sps was to depart Thursday, Feb 2, arrive Friday Feb, 3,2012. After flight canceled and reroute and TWO overnight delays, one in Portland, another Houston, I arrived San Pedro Sula Saturday, Feb. 4. More than 24 hours later. This was a United flight. I've been traveling since and not followed up as of yet, (still steaming). Thanks.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 20 Mar 2012
Sherri, sorry to hear--sounds awful! Unless you were also bumped because one of your flights was oversold, though, unfortunately you're not due any compensation. As frustrating as it is, flight delays/cancellations do not obligate an airline to provide any compensation (see the "Delayed or Cancelled Flight" section above). Your only option is to not wait around and get a refund on the unused portion of the ticket. United should have offered lodging for your overnight in Houston unless this was a force majeure(eg weather-related) event, so if they didn't offer lodging that night you should be able to get some compensation for that. Portland is ineligible because it was your origin.
Picture?type=large Betsy K. commented 13 Mar 2013
While traveling on a United Airlines flight from Barcelona to Texas, our flight was delayed overnight due to mechanical issues. It was delayed the next day for 6 hours due to mechanical issues as well causing an overnight delay in Newark. Needless to say, I was over 50 hours delayed. United is saying that i do not qualify for cash compensation because i am not a EU citizen. is this true?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 13 Mar 2013
Betsy, sorry to hear this--sounds terrible. Unfortunately United's response is typical for United, even though it's wrong. I don't think I've ever heard of United willingly providing the EU compensation it's supposed to. I'll write a brief post on this soon.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 14 Mar 2013
@Betsy Please see our post for my analysis and advice on getting compensation under EU 261/2004. Hope it works out!
Picture?type=large Betsy K. commented 23 Mar 2013
Hilary, thanks for the detailed post. I will follow your advice on getting compensation under EU 261/2004. Best regards and safe travels!
Picture?type=large Cemol C. commented 24 Dec 2013
are passengers entitled to get a free hotel stay if they have a transit of 11 hours
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 25 Dec 2013
It really depends on the airline and other factors. For example, Qatar offers certain transit passengers hotel accommodation for transit times >8 hours, where there is no connection <8 hours available and the booking does not include flights to or from AUH, BAH, DXB, KWI, or MCT.
Picture?type=large Brian G. commented 08 Feb 2014
Hi, Here's a fun story ( with question of course). After delaying my flight several times, United quietly cancelled said flight. The apologetic lady at the service desk informed me that this was due to weather problems/ domino effects, etc. Although she was happy to put me on the next flight ( 16 hrs later), she also informed me that the airline did not feel responsible for putting me up for the night. Upon polling the other refugees the next day, it turns out that they admitted that it was a crew issue soon after I walked away from the desk. Liar liar, pantalones en fuego!!!!! All of these passengers were accommodated. What is my best course of action? I will accept the privilege of punching someone in the nose as compensation. Is there anyway to arrange for that?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 08 Feb 2014
Brian, oh no! That sounds like anything but fun. I definitely recommend that you contact United via the online Customer Care form, found here: You might also want to read our complaint tips for airlines, here: Hope that United helps make this right for you.
User_avatar_default Abha L. commented 09 Feb 2014
Hello, I recently placed a complaint, and it seems like I would be due compensation. But the response Delta gave me was that they would give me a $100 discount off my next flight or a cash card for $100 since my very first flight was out of the US. I filed this complaint on the Air France webpage. I traveled on Air France from Portland, OR, USA to Africa. I started in Portland at 1:20 pm, then stopped in Salt Lake City at 4:02 pm. The first delay was about 4 hours from Salt Lake City. We were supposed to arrive in Paris at 11;15 am , but the flight arrived at 3:00 pm. This was due to a mechanical issue. Then the next connection was supposed to be leave at 12:35 pm from Paris to Africa with arrival at 1:50 pm. However, I was delayed leaving until 8:30 pm and arrival in Africa was 9:30 PM. That was a delay of 7 hours and 40 minutes. Therefore, pursuant to EU 261/2004, I requested a token of goodwill by offering me cash compensation. There was no extraordinary circumstances and the flight and my transit were severely delayed. The flight distance was 5063 miles or 8148 km and then second flight was 851 miles or 1370 km. Basically Delta contacted me and apologized about that the flight to Paris was delayed due to mechanical reasons. They indicated that I had requested a review of your case under the guidelines of European Union Regulation (EC) 261/2004 defining an airline's requirements when flight changes occur. While my delayed flight from Salt Lake City had an Air France flight number as it was a Codeshare flight, it was actually operated by Delta. They indicated that when a Delta operated flight departs the United States , the European Union regulation does not apply and cash compensation is not due.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 09 Feb 2014
Abha, unfortunately, based on what you wrote above, Delta is correct: EU 261/2004 does not apply, at least not for the delayed Delta flight from Salt Lake City. Now if by chance your Paris flight that was to leave at 12:35pm was delayed, you would have a claim for that. But as far as I understood from the above, it wasn't delayed, and you missed it due to your delayed Delta flight from Salt Lake City, so you were forced to take a later flight. EU 261/2004 only applies if you're either departing from an EU member state or you're traveling to an EU member state on an airline based in an EU member state (and it does have to be the actual carrier--codeshares don't count if the carrier flown is non-EU). Please also see which, although it's about getting United to pay EU compensation, covers the rules and compensation. Sorry that it doesn't appear to apply in your case.
Picture?type=large Marie L. commented 02 May 2014
Hi, I brought someone to the airport this morning to catch an Alaskan airline flight (10:30am departure) Neither of us realized they had changed their check-in time to 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time. He got up to the check in desk at 9:54... and was told he couldn't get on the plane. They finally said he could get on the plane, and UPS his baggage, or take a flight tomorrow. Neither option worked for him. We understand that we were in error by missing the 40 minute mark and were willing to pay a fee to get him on his plane. But that was not even an option given. Any suggestions on what we can do? (He ended up paying for a one way ticket to his destination, and unfortunately needs to use his return portion with Alaska.)
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 02 May 2014
Marie, sorry to hear this--must have been very stressful. It is really important to allow enough time at the airport, especially when checking bags. United actually requires to have checked in their bags at least 45 minutes prior to the flight and AA advises 90 minutes if checking bags, so Alaska's 40 minute check-in time requirement, if anything, is shorter than normal. Right now I'd be most concerned about his return flight, since usually airlines will cancel all further segments if the first segment hasn't been flown. Has he verified that he still has that return flight on Alaska and that it hasn't been cancelled out?
Picture?type=large Patrick G. commented 12 Jun 2014
Hello, I believe I have maybe the most confusing story you have ever heard involving three airlines and a lot of dough out of my pocket. I had an event where I was sending my girlfriend back to Brazil on the back half portion of two independent return tickets. I will leave my flights out of it as they are inconsequential. Her flights were as follows: Jan1st/14-Feb5th/14 CopaAir CuritibaBRZ - Montego BayJAM Jan10th/14-Feb4th/14 WestJet Montego BayJAM -VancouverCAN So as you can see, within the scope of the Copa flights to Jamaica, we departed Jamaica together to Vancouver via Toronto. WestJet should have gotten her back to Montego Bay on February 4th and her return segment to Brazil on February 5th at noonish would have been easy to make. I had a hotel booked for her near the airport. However thats not the way things worked :( I dropped her off at the airport hours before her first segment to Montego bay which was Toronto. Her flight was delayed by a mechanical issue by more than two hours. That made her miss her connection to Montego Bay and the earliest flight the next day (regardless of airline) would not get her there in time to make her CopaAir flights on February 5th. There was no refund available for the hotel in Jamaica, there was no CopaAir flight the day after the intended, and she had school that she had to get to. So I did as suggested by my travel agent and purchased a One way Air Canada flight from Toronto to Curitiba (her home) departing that night and was forced to abandon the next three flights. My travel agent had sent in some reimbursment form or info back then and so far I have heard absolutely nothing and gotten no refunds of any kind. I would love to be refunded for the 45 dollars i spent on the second Wesjet segment for upgraded seating and the Air Canada flight only. I would hope I am entitled to the second one way fare of $1050. What's your take on the situation? Is it the craziest compilation you've seen?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 09 Jul 2014
Patrick, sorry for the delayed response, as this is an older post, and very sorry to hear of your girlfriend's travel snafus, due to the original delayed flight from Toronto. Unfortunately I'm not optimistic of your getting compensated, unless you purchased travel insurance (always a good idea when you're booking paid flights/hotel stays) although you should try to get a prorated refund for the return portion of your girlfriend's ticket, if allowed by the contract of carriage. Have your agent check the Copa contract of carriage for your ticket, and what it says about delays due to the airline, such as mechanical issues.
Picture?type=large Arpit S. commented 09 Jul 2014
Hi, thanks for the good work. I recently flew from Seattle, WA, United States to New Delhi, India, via Frankfurt Germany. It was a codeshare with Lufthansa flying me from Seattle to Frankfurt, arriving on time. From Frankfurt, I was to take Air India toward New Delhi. But this flight was delayed by 21 hours and since I did Not have German/Schengen visa, I couldn't be lodged in a hotel and had to spend 21 hours in transit zone. Since My layover was 12 hours 35 minutes, I ended up spending a total of 33 hours 35 minutes at Frankfurt. My question is, this being a codeshare flight, which airline should I approach for refund and compensation? I bought the ticket through a online travel agency. Should I route my request for refund and cancelation request through them? Please advise.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 09 Jul 2014
Arpit, thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear of this awful delay. For purposes of claiming EU compensation, it's important to know what the cause of the 21 hour delay was. If it was something outside the airline's control, such as weather, you won't be able to claim EU compensation. But if it was something within the airline's control, such as a mechanical issue, then you should seek to claim it from Air India (although I'm not holding my breath on the speed of their response time--it's often like pulling teeth to get airlines to pay EU compensation even when the delay was undisputedly the airline's fault). I'm not sure which Air India email you should use for this, so I would start by calling Air India's Germany contact center and ask where you should email / mail your claim for EU 261/2004 compensation (assuming, that is, you are sure that the delay was the airline's fault). Also see the post I wrote about this in the context of claiming it from United:
Picture?type=large Arpit S. commented 09 Jul 2014
Hi Hilary, thanks plenty for your prompt response. The delay was caused by a mechanical issue in the aircraft and as we were told, Boeing engineers were brought in for repairs. It was not weather. Quick question, how much time you think it should take for me to get ticket cost refund PLUS compensation from Air India.? Weeks, months or years... Thanks in advance...
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 09 Jul 2014
Arpit, I wish I could say, but unfortunately I don't have any experience, either personally or via clients, with claiming EU 261/2004 compensation from Air India. Would definitely appreciate an update on how your claim goes...
Picture?type=large Tom M. commented 14 Jul 2014
Hello Hilary I was on flight 201 on July 10th 2014 it had to make an emergency landing on Midway Island (possible electrical fire lost of Communication possibly more this is what we where told). Which has no airport and only 45 government contractor on the Island. United had to fly another plane to pick up the passenger. fly us back to Honolulu They did schedule us a special plane to take us to Guam and I was rebook to Manila. They are offering all of us 25000 miles or a $500. Is united trying to get off cheap? Is there other compensation required? What is our recourse? All of our luggage is still on Midway island
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 14 Jul 2014
Tom, very sorry to hear you were on what sounds like a very harrowing flight, with all the delays that resulted. Glad you are safe, and hope that your luggage makes it to you in Manila soon. I actually wrote a blog post in response to this, please see
Picture?type=large Tom M. commented 15 Jul 2014
Hello Hilary Thanks for your response and blog. Seeing the example was very informative. I do have 1K status and will take your advice to fill out the customer care online form. Thanks Tom
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 15 Jul 2014
Tom, glad the post is helpful, and that's terrific that you have 1K status as it should help you improve the compensation / goodwill gesture United offers you. AFAIK, you can log in and use this link as a 1K:
Picture?type=large David C. commented 17 Aug 2014
Hilary I have a question In 2011 I had a roundtrip ticket (economy) on DL from SLC X/ATL X/GIG to JPA and while in JPA I bought a a one way ticket from ATL X/MIA X/PTY to GUA because my plans had changed to return to SLC. This is before I started working at a travel agency, but I´m still confused as to why when arriving in ATL I was charged a $200 at the airport for a cancelation penalty to just take the sticker off the luggage which indicated the final destination. So, I don´t understand why they are forcing passegers to take luggage to final destination or pay 200usd+ to take sticker off. Can you explain this to me please?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 17 Aug 2014
David, if I'm understanding this correctly, your last return segment ATL-SLC you wanted to throw away and not use, because you had bought a new ticket from ATL to GUA via MIA and PTY. But in Delta's (and most airlines') eyes, you were attempting to throw away a segment--not return to SLC--which was effectively changing the ticket, and that is why you were charged a cancellation penalty in order to not check your bag through to the final destination, SLC. Passengers continue to use hidden city and throwaway ticketing, even though it is against the airline's contract of carriage. In fact, as you may know, travel agents that book tickets where the passenger doesn't fly the last segment or doesn't fly the return can be charged for the difference in fare, or even lose the ability to ticket passengers on that airline altogether. And passengers can potentially be penalized by having their miles taken away or in extreme cases banned from flying the airline. If you're going to do this, it's best not to be checking any luggage, and make sure it's the last segment since all subsequent segments and the return will be cancelled if you no show.
Picture?type=large Rip Y. commented 18 Aug 2014
Hilary, AA delayed flight 153 from ORD to NRT for 3 hours at the gate due to mechanical. I missed my connection to destination city HKG. They put me up in a hotel and paid for my meals and sent an unsolicited email offering me 5,000 miles. However, I was supposed to spend the whole day today in my HK office preparing for a presentation the following day. Now, I won't arrive at the office until around 4 p.m. and will still need to work until midnight to be ready. The miles seem very light to me. Do you have any guideline for how many miles to request? I know that I wasn't bumped, but I cannot find financial benchmarks for international mechanical delays that caused missed connections and an overnight stay. Can I use their Rule 240/80 for bumping as a bench mark for mechanical delays that make me miss a connection? I read that as 200% of one way ticked up to $650. I don't expect that they will write me a check or give me a voucher for $650 for a delay instead of a bumping. However, to me 5,000 miles are worth about $50 which is a big gap. Can I request enough miles to buy a one-way first class ticket = 30,000-65000 miles. Any advice on what to ask for, any rules to reference, etc. would be overwhelmingly appreciated!!
Picture?type=large Jochen B. commented 27 Aug 2014
So sieht`s in den USA aus.
Picture?type=large Sandeep K. commented 18 Oct 2014
Hi Hillary. Hope u dng well. I travelled from little rock,USA to new delhi on route LIT-DFW-LHR-DEL on 13th oct by AA and BA and was slated to arrive delhi on 15 mrng by 8 am however due delays and cancelations at all legs of itenary I could reach my final destination only after 28 hours from scheduled arrival. My original flight from LIT was cancelled but I ws givn anther flight to DFW by AA whch made me land DFW at 9 pm whch would hv gvn me suficient time to catch my next flt to LHR at 10:50 pm but the plane never got docked for deboarding for 1:30 hours and by the time I ws out of plane it was 10:35 pm gvng me just 15 mnts to rush to nxt flt frm anthr terminal at Dfw which I missed since by he time I rchd the gate it was alrdy closed for boarding. AA gave me transportn n hotel and also rescheduled my flight to LHR but only on nxt day at 5 pm whch resulted me to miss my next conection from LHR to DEL on BA. To add to agony the rescheduled flight from DFW to LHR on AA also got delayed by 5 hours due to a technical snag and again made to miss my recheduled conection from LHR to DEL. I had to wait for 10 hrs at LHR to catch my next flight to DEL by jet airways and it was also delayed by 2:30 hrs on its scheduled deprture. I was not given hotel at LHR by AA but only meal vouchers only when i asked for lodging. Final nail in the coffin was when my baggage did not arrive in final flight to DEL. One of the baggages is still to be traced as per jet airways while I m writing this. In all this process I have lost 2 days of work which is crucial time for my business at this time of year. Can u suggest me what compensation can I put a claim for with AA/jet airways for all these delays in travel and baggage. Thhanks.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 30 Oct 2014
Sandeep, sorry for your agonizing experience--truly a nightmare. I definitely recommend seeking a "goodwill gesture" from AA for those delays, even though AA is under no legal obligation to compensate you for the cancelled flight. You can write AA at For your flight from LHR, it depends if it arrived more than 3 hours after its scheduled arrival, given that it departed 2.5 hours late. If it did arrive more than 3 hours late, then you're owed 600 EUR, although it could be like pulling teeth to get Jet Airways to pay it. For more on EU 261/2004 see
Picture?type=large Joe S. commented 23 Oct 2014
Hi Hillary, we have 4 ticketed first class seats to come back from Orlando to Newark. We purchased these tickets when they first went on sale in December 2013. They oversold the flights and bumped my minor children out of their assigned seats. When I called them to inquire they told me that they bumped them because we paid the lowest fare of the first class passengers. This is a busy day and all the flights show no seats. We will be coming off a cruise so it will be difficult contact the airline before the morning of the flight. Any suggestions?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 30 Oct 2014
Joe, very sorry to hear this--not sure if you've already taken this flight, but what compensation did the airline (assume United) offer? I would definitely request compensation. Unfortunately it probably won't be as much as you'd like (for flights s for day of departure downgrades) but definitely worth writing United about. Online form is at
Picture?type=large David W. commented 29 Oct 2014
I had an Allegiant flight from Grand Forks to Las Vegas and checked in online and had no luggage. I was through security 35 minutes prior to departure only to be denied boarding as the flight was leaving early, no refund, nothing, from the gate. Just told to go away.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 30 Oct 2014
David, sorry to hear your flight departed early! Unfortunately, though, Allegiant says you need to be at your gate (so already checked in and past security) at least *1 hour* before scheduled departure. See This is a lot more time than is required for domestic flights by most other airlines (for example, United just requires you to be at the gate at least 15 minutes before scheduled departure time)--just another reason not to fly Allegiant.
Picture?type=large Juli A. commented 01 Dec 2014
I bought a flex ticket through AirCanada. We knew that there might be some issues with the dates so purposefully bought a 'flex ticket'. All websites claim that flex tickets for international flights are refundable (mine was bought from the UK, to go to Canada). Even the link on the receipt they e-mailed, the link takes me to the flex fare conditions (again saying refundable for a fee) but lower down written on my ticket after purchase it says it is not. How can they send me a receipt for something advertised as a refundable ticket, but refuse to refund it? Can I claim that this was sold under false pretences? I feel duped.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 01 Dec 2014
Juli, I agree with you that with a name such as "Flex" you'd expect it to be refundable. And if your flex fare conditions state that it is refundable for a fee, you should definitely take this up with Air Canada. Unfortunately, when I look at Air Canada's chart at showing its 5 different fare options, it does depict the Flex ticket option as non-refundable. Very misleading term for this type of ticket, since the main difference appears to be slightly lower costs to change the ticket (but not to refund the ticket).
Picture?type=large Juli A. commented 02 Dec 2014
Hi Hilary, Thanks for looking into it! I think I found the mix up (on their part) The flex fare in the link you mention is for inter-Canada flights. The ones below are for international originating in Europe: and from this page for options of what kind of flights (international or local) it takes you to this!!: So frustrating!
Picture?type=large Siuman C. commented 22 Dec 2014
Hello Hilary, Two weeks ago I was on a delayed flight (Delta, +4 hours) from the US to Europe. I was bumped from a different flight, and ended up on the delayed flight. The airline says there's no compensation, but when I read your article (below bumping - international flights from US), I think there might be. Do you know where the regulations officially are stated? Thanks for your help!
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 14 Jan 2015
Siuman, unfortunately there's no EU 261/2004 compensation due since the flight was *to* the EU on a non-EU airline (Delta). If you'd been traveling on a carrier based in the EU, then compensation would be due. The only compensation would be if you were involuntarily denied boarding when you were bumped. If the flight you were originally on was oversold and you were bumped because of that, you would be entitled to 400% your one way ticket price, up to $1300, for a delay of 2 or more hours.
Picture?type=large Heidi S. commented 14 Jan 2015
Hello Hilary,, A friend of mine used her miles from AA to book a trip jfk/hkg/tsa/jfk, AA booked her trip with CX, she is a seniro citizen having knee problems, therefore she requested an aisle seat, her seats were confirmed by reservation, on the way to jfk she wanted to make sure that she will have an aisle seat due to 15 hrs flts. on the way to the gate in hkg the agents ensure her that she has an aisle seat, but at the time of boarding she asked again and was told one more time that she has it. inside the aircraft she noticed that she was not allocated as she was told and confirmed, she asked the flight attendant about her seat and she was told that she can get an aisle seat by paying over 2,000.00 without other explanation. they did not tell her that she needed to by an one way ticket .they did not tell her that they will not use her miles ticket, in fact she was told that they have aisle seat. she has complained to CX, AA and DOT and no one is doing anything about refunding her money, the credit card company is not giving her the refund to her account either. What can she do? please help
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 14 Jan 2015
Heidi, unfortunately, Cathay's contract of carriage (and most other airlines') do *not* guarantee a particular seat or type of seat: "...we cannot guarantee any particular seat. We reserve the right to assign or reassign seats at any time, even after boarding of the aircraft..." So unfortunately your friend is out of luck. With her knee problems, I highly recommend that she save up or buy enough miles to book Cathay long haul business class next time, since all seats offer aisle access, or a similar business class product where all seats offer direct aisle access. That way, regardless of any seat change, she would still have aisle access (and a much more comfortable flight, since these are flat bed seats). I would also advise her to ensure that she tells the airline in advance of her disability, not just of her aisle seat request, since airlines do try to accommodate disabilities and medical needs for certain seats.
Picture?type=large Silvia B. commented 24 Feb 2015
Hello Hillary. We just returned from Asia. Our Asiana Airlines flight was at the gate and the crew was onboard. It was on time. They announced that due to multiple Asiana planes being delayed, with their passengers needing to get to our flight, that our flight would be 90 minutes delayed. The flight went from Seoul, Korea to Seattle. It was to arrive at 11:20 am. We had a 2:10 minute layover (Customs) before boarding an Alaska 1:30 pm flight to San Diego. Needless to say, we arrived at 1:15pm in Seattle and missed our connection. They told us the only flight available (due to everything being oversold) was at 8:30 pm. We ended up catching a 545pm stand by flight to San Diego and not sitting together. It was a 30+ hour day for us. Is there any action I can take against Asiana, since my plane was there and on time, and their greed caused my wife and I a very miserable day? Thanks Scott
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