Flight delayed or canceled? Experts share some advice

Jan 10, 2023, 6:33 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 12:24 pm
A traveler looks at a flight board with delays and cancellations at Ronald Reagan Washington Nation...

A traveler looks at a flight board with delays and cancellations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Thousands of travelers were stranded at U.S. airports due to an hours-long computer outage. If a flight is canceled, experts say most airlines will rebook you on the next available flight. But if you choose to cancel the trip, airlines must provide you with a full refund. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Thousands of travelers were stranded at U.S. airports Wednesday due to an hours-long computer outage.

More than 1,100 U.S. flights were canceled and nearly 8,000 flights were delayed as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the tracking site FlightAware.

Even though the Federal Aviation Administration was at fault for the outage, airlines will be on the hook for refunds and other compensation. Kurt Ebenhoch, a consumer travel advocate and former airline executive, said passengers are entitled to a full refund if an airline cancels a flight for any reason.

Staying calm __ and knowing your rights __ can go a long way if your flight plans are disrupted, experts say. Here’s some of their advice for dealing with a flight delay or cancellation:

MY FLIGHT WAS CANCELED. WHAT NEXT?

If you still want to get to your destination, most airlines will rebook you for free on the next available flight as long as it has seats, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Major airlines including Delta, American, Southwest and United were waiving change fees for Wednesday flights __ and, in some cases, Thursday flights __ to make it easier for passengers to change their travel plans.

If you want to cancel the trip, you are entitled to a full refund, even if you bought non-refundable tickets. You’re also entitled to a refund of any bag fees, seat upgrades or other extras.

Ebenhoch stressed that travelers are eligible for a refund, not just vouchers for future travel. If you do take a voucher, make sure you inquire about blackout dates and other restrictions on its use.

MY FLIGHT WAS DELAYED. DOES THE AIRLINE HAVE TO PROVIDE ME WITH COMPENSATION?

No. There are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide passengers with meal vouchers or other compensation when their flights are delayed. But each airline has its own policy, so if you are experiencing a long delay, you should ask if you can get a meal voucher or a hotel room. In some cases airlines might offer you a discounted hotel rate.

MY FLIGHT WAS DELAYED FOR SO LONG THAT I NO LONGER WANT TO MAKE THE TRIP. CAN I GET A REFUND?

Maybe. The U.S. Department of Transportation says travelers are entitled to a refund if there is a “significant delay.” It does not define “significant,” so airlines have their own standards. Delta will refund a flight that was delayed by more than two hours, for example, while American will refund a flight that was delayed by more than four hours.

CAN I ASK TO BE BOOKED ON ANOTHER AIRLINE’S FLIGHT?

Yes. Airlines aren’t required to put you on another airline’s flight, but they can and sometimes do, according to the DOT. Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com, recommends researching alternate flights while you’re waiting to talk to an agent. Agents are typically under a lot of pressure when a flight is canceled, so giving them some options helps.

Ebenhoch also suggests looking for alternative airports that are close to your original destination.

I’M FACING A LONG WAIT TO REBOOK MY FLIGHT. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If someone in your traveling party is at a higher level in a frequent flier program, use the number reserved for that level to call the airline, Ebenhoch said. You can also try calling an international help desk for the airline, since those agents have the ability to make changes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
20 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Tiny California mouse wins Guinness award for longevity

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A tiny California mouse now has a big title after winning a Guinness World record for longevity. A Pacific pocket mouse named Pat — after “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart — received the Guinness approval Wednesday as the oldest living mouse in human care at the ripe age of 9 years […]
20 hours ago
This shows a Chinese Dahua brand security camera in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Aust...
Associated Press

Australian Defense Department to remove Chinese-made cameras

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Defense Department will remove surveillance cameras made by Chinese Communist Party-linked companies from its buildings, the government said Thursday after the U.S. and Britain made similar moves. The Australian newspaper reported Thursday that at least 913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems and video recorders developed and manufactured by Chinese companies […]
20 hours ago
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a mi...
Associated Press

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un presides over big military parade

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought his young daughter to a huge military parade showing off the latest hardware of his fast-growing nuclear arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the United States, state media said Thursday. North Korean photos of Wednesday night’s parade in the capital, Pyongyang, […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Filmmaker Ken Burns walks with inmate Rahsaan Thomas at San Quentin State Prison in San Quen...
Associated Press

‘Ear Hustle’ podcast co-host is free from San Quentin prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A co-host of “Ear Hustle,” the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast produced behind bars, was released from San Quentin State Prison on Wednesday, a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom commuted his sentence. Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, 52, left the lockup near San Francisco and was greeted by his fellow podcast co-hosts Walter […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Flight delayed or canceled? Experts share some advice