flight cancellations

What to Know if Your Flight Gets Canceled

NBC Universal, Inc.

Airline carriers are canceling flights by the hundreds, and passengers are reaching out to NBC4 Responds.

Ann from Maryland said she is still waiting on a refund from an airline after her flight was canceled. Tom from Virginia said hundreds of passengers waited to reschedule canceled flights but only one agent was on duty at the airport. Joyce was told by a third-party booking company there would be no refund for her canceled flight.

The Bernklau family’s trip to the Magic Kingdom was perfect until the their flight was canceled without any notice from the airline. The next available flight was days later 

“The number of cancellations has gone from typically 1% up to 3 or 4%,” said Paul Hudson of Flyer’s Rights. “So, your chances are three or four times what they used to be if your flight will be canceled.”

His non-profit advocates for passengers and is tracking the flood of complaints from the sky. 

Mix in the usual summer chaos of crowds and storms, add a heavy dose of an industry-wide shortage of seats and crews, and travelers are fed up, but they do have protections set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If an airline cancels a flight, passengers are entitled to a full refund, including passengers who purchase non-refundable tickets.

“This is basic, basic law,” Hudson said. “If you pay for a service or a product and you don't get it, the producer of the service doesn't get to keep your money.

Those who purchase a flight through a third party need to contact the travel company if the flight is canceled. They’ll likely process the refund directly.

People who paid for a seat upgrade, baggage fees or in-flight WiFi are entitled to a refund if the flight is canceled. 

When it comes to a delayed flight, a passenger is entitled to a full refund if the flight is significantly delayed. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation has not specifically defined what constitutes a significant delay. That’s determined on a case-by-case basis.

If a flight is delayed, there are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide compensation for meals or hotel rooms. That’s up to the airline’s discretion.

Flyers can also file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.

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