If you’ve ever noticed a price increase mid-search when booking a flight, or you’ve gone without luggage for a few days only to be compensated with a measly $50, there are a few things you should know about the realities of air travel. Passengers have more rights than they’re offered.
1. You can have cash instead of vouchers. Never settle for vouchers. When you’re bumped from a flight due to overbooking, and the airline doesn’t make other arrangements for you within two hours, you can get up to $1,300 in cash, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Instead, most airlines offer their passengers a travel voucher. However, they’re supposed to tell you that you can also get a check on the spot.
2. Even if you get alternative flight arrangements within a few hours, you’re still entitled to cash for your trouble. You should be compensated by 200% for a one-way ticket to your destination and the reimbursement can go up to $650.
3. The cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, but those aren’t the cheapest days to make your purchase.
4. You can cancel your reservation within 24 hours for no fee. Most airlines let you cancel or make changes to your itinerary for seven days before your trip, promising you a full refund.
5. Airlines will offer to pay a certain amount of money for lost luggage, but they’re actually supposed to pay more. Most airlines will offer between $25 and $50 per day. However, if you’re on your way to something extra important, like a wedding or business trip, that’s not enough money! You may be owed as much as $3,300 in liability when flying in the U.S., as long as you have receipts that show you needed certain items.
6. If the plane is sitting for three hours, you can get off. During a long delay in the U.S., whether you’re arriving or departing, you can’t be held on a plane for longer than three hours for a domestic flight or four hours for an international flight. Plus, the airline has to keep the food and water cart active every two hours even while you’re delayed.
7. If your flight itinerary changes, the airline is supposed to pay the difference. For example, if your flight is delayed and you end up being booked with another carrier, the airline has to cover all associated expenses and additional fees. If there’s only a first-class seat available, it’s yours, and you won’t even have to spend an extra dime.
8. If your itinerary changes, you get to hold on to your original ticket, which means you may be able to exchange it for a new flight in the future. Time to start looking into hotels in Austin!
9. If the airline is at fault, even a nonrefundable ticket can be refunded. If the flight is delayed for a long time, canceled, or rerouted, you can get a full refund.
Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. By going on a trip armed with this knowledge, you’ll know when to ask for what you deserve.