What are your rights when an airline cancels your flight?

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Your rights when an airline cancels your flight
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If you're stuck in the Southwest debacle no matter what you're rights are, you're still going to be frustrated.

If you're stuck in the Southwest debacle no matter what you're rights are, you're still going to be frustrated as it doesn't help you get to your destination faster. One thing you need to realize is you do have rights if the airline cancels your flight.

Katy Nastro with Scott's Cheap Flights says, "Regardless of whether it is in or out of the airline's control if an airline cancels or significantly delays your flight, you are entitled to a full cash, refund." You are only due a refund if the airline doesn't re-book you on another flight.

The US Department of Transportation does have a Passenger Bill of Rights which also requires airlines to re-book you on a partner airline, but that doesn't help when it comes to Southwest. "There is nowhere that states that Southwest has inter-airline agreements that would help you in this scenario, where you didn't have to buy a new ticket outright which a lot of people are running into at the moment," Nastro adds.

Many Southwest customers are now paying out of pocket for flights on different airlines. Southwest is apologizing for canceling thousands of flights which they blame on Winter Storm Elliott and says the cancellations and delays will continue as in efforts to get their operations back on track. A spokesperson says the airline is only flying about one-third of its flights in the next several days.

The US DOT said in a tweet that it's, "Concerned by Southwest's unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service," and the tweet goes on to state, "The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan."

Southwest does now have this page on its website directly related to the travel disruptions happening right now, where you can request a refund for your canceled flight that you did not use.

It's also stated if you've been impacted by a flight cancellation or significant flight delay between December 24, 2022, and January 2, 2023, you may submit receipts for consideration, and they we will honor reasonable requests for reimbursement for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation.

Besides canceled and delayed flights, travelers are also having problems with luggage not getting to their final destination. You also have rights when it comes to lost and delayed luggage.

The best advice is to file a claim right away, get a reference number, and make sure you keep your receipts of any purchases so you can file for reimbursement.

One last tip is you should always check which credit card you used to book your flight. Many offer travel protection for delays, cancellations, and lost luggage, o check to see if any of your expenses could be covered through your credit card travel protection.

Why is Southwest canceling flights?

'It's been catastrophic': Southwest Airlines cancels thousands of flights across the country

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