What to do if your flight was delayed or canceled in the FAA chaos
After thousands of travelers were stranded during an hour-long FAA computer outage, many are trying to rebook or get a refund if they no longer want to travel.
According to tracking site FlightAware, more than 2,700 US flights were canceled and another 8,000 delayed on Wednesday – and the disruptions could stretch for days.
Anyone whose flight has been canceled is entitled to a full refund if they no longer wish to travel. For passengers experiencing delays, remedial action varies by airline and may include rebooking or refund options.
Keeping calm and knowing your rights can go a long way when your flight schedules are disrupted, experts say. Airline customers who believe their rights as passengers have been neglected can submit a written complaint to the Department of Transportation.
Here, travel experts share their advice on how to deal with a flight delay or cancellation, as well as the latest information from each airline on refunds and rebookings:
After thousands of travelers were stranded during an hour-long FAA computer outage, many are looking for rebooking or refund options if they no longer wish to travel
What are the major airlines doing to help travelers?
Most major US airlines are offering anyone who wanted to fly on Wednesday the chance to change a ticket between the same two cities for free, even if their flight wasn’t canceled or delayed.
Southwest Airlines offered the most generous change window, allowing anyone who was ticketed for Wednesday to change to a flight on or before January 25 at no additional cost.
Southwest also said in a statement to DailyMail.com that it will issue refunds to customers who “do not travel due to cancellation or significant delay”.
Likewise, United Airlines issued a wavier on Wednesday for all flights, allowing travelers to transfer to another flight departing on or before next Monday at no additional cost.
United also said it was “offering refunds for customers who no longer wish to travel,” directing travelers to its website to request refunds.
Delta Airlines issued a fare difference on Wednesday for all of its flights, allowing travelers to transfer to another flight on or before Friday at no additional cost.
Travelers wait in a long TSA checkpoint line at United Airlines Terminal 1 at O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday
A traveler looks at a flight information board at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday
The airline said the FAA’s disruption has resulted in the cancellation of more than 130 Delta flights.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. Delta remains engaged at all levels with our partners at the FAA as we work to mitigate the impact,” the company said in a statement.
American Airlines had not released any information on rebooking policies as of Wednesday afternoon and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are working with the FAA to minimize disruption to customers,” the company said in a tweet, the only apparent comment on the matter.
My flight has been cancelled. Can I get a refund?
Yes. If your booked flight has been canceled and you no longer wish to travel, you are entitled to a full refund, even if you bought non-refundable tickets.
You are also entitled to a refund of baggage fees, seat upgrades or other extras.
Kurt Ebenhoch, a consumer travel advocate and former airline chief executive, stressed that travelers are entitled to a cash refund for canceled flights, not just vouchers for future trips.
If you take a coupon, be sure to inquire about blackout dates and other restrictions on use.
If you still want to get to your destination, most airlines will rebook you free of charge on the next available flight, as long as it has seats, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Passengers at Miami International Airport on Wednesday after an FAA computer failure halted all flights for several hours and delayed thousands of flights across the United States.
Can I get hotel or meal vouchers if my flight was delayed?
There are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide meal vouchers or other compensation to passengers when their flights are delayed.
But every airline has its own policy. So if you have a long delay, you should ask if you can get a meal voucher or a hotel room.
If your flight was delayed so long that you no longer want to travel, you may be able to get a refund.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says travelers are entitled to a refund if they experience a “substantial delay,” but it doesn’t define “substantial.”
The refund depends on many factors, including the length of the delay and the duration of the flight. It will be decided on a case by case basis.
Both Southwest and United proactively said they would offer refunds to customers affected by the FAA ground stop, including for long delays.
Can I request a transfer to another airline?
Yes. Airlines are not required to put you on another airline’s flight, but according to the DOT they can and sometimes do.
CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee recommends researching alternative flights while you wait to speak to an agent.
Agents are usually under a lot of pressure when a flight is cancelled, so giving them some options helps.
Ebenhoch also suggests looking for alternative airports that are close to your original destination.
If you find yourself waiting a long time trying to change your flight, there are a few tactics you can use to expedite the process.
If someone in your travel party is in a higher tier frequent flyer program, use the number reserved for that tier to call the airline, Ebenhoch said.
You can also try calling an international airline helpdesk as they can make changes.
To avoid future travel disruptions, Ebenhoch said non-stop flights and morning flights are generally the most reliable when you can book them.
If you’re worried about getting to the airport in time for a morning flight, consider staying at a hotel connected to the airport the night before.
Klee recommends comparing airline refund and rebooking policies through the DOT’s service dashboard.
He also suggests reserving multiple flights and then canceling the unused ones, as long as the airline refunds your money or turns it into a credit towards a future flight.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11624727/What-flight-delayed-canceled-FAA-chaos.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 What to do if your flight was delayed or canceled in the FAA chaos