Dealing with a delayed or stranded flight is the worst. That's in part because under U.S. law, airlines aren’t obliged to provide any compensation for delays or cancellations--even when it’s their fault. But the following advice from The New York Times on how to handle such unexpected travel snafus should help make things a little better...Here's what you do:
- If you're stranded overnight due to bad weather, know that airlines aren't obligated to pay for your meals and hotel. Use the airline’s app, call the customer service number or speak to a gate agent to figure out your options.
- If your U.S.-based carrier is flying in from Europe, they must abide by customer-friendlier European Union rules. That means that if your flight from, say, Dublin to New York is canceled or delayed for more than three hours, you could be entitled to substantial payouts from the airline.
- If a gate agent asks for volunteers to take a later flight in exchange for a voucher, know that if you accept, you will not be entitled to additional compensation.
- Always check in 24 hours ahead of time. Otherwise, you may be out of luck when it comes to bumped passenger compensation rules.
- Download the airline's app. When you get wind of a long delay or cancellation, your first move should be to speak with someone in person, at the gate or on the phone. But wait times in those situations can be epic, so download the carrier's app to check departure statuses and (sometimes) easily change itineraries.
- Ask for what you think you deserve. While you may get turned down, you should always (politely) ask for what you think you deserve.