As a passenger, it is important to know that you always have rights. Situations like this make it important to know that as a passenger you always have rights.
CNBC Make It talked to Tomasz Pawliszyn, CEO of AirHelp and Clint Henderson, managing editor at The Points Guy, about the essential steps you should take when your flight is delayed or canceled.
How to find out if your flight is delayed or canceled
Airlines will often notify you about delays and cancellations by email, text, or app notification if you provide the appropriate contact information when booking.
That said, doing your due diligence is also essential. Henderson says one of his favorite apps is Flightradar24, a live flight tracker showing real-time air traffic.
“I’m always tracking my flights so I can see where my planes are coming from and the status,” Henderson said.
By tracking where your plane is coming from, you can gauge whether your flight will be delayed.
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What to do if your flight is delayed
“You’re not always going to get an airline willing to work with you in those situations,” Henderson added.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard shares passenger rights for specific airlines and the agreement made by the 10 largest carriers, including Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, in the event of “controllable” cancellations and delays.
Those passenger rights include major airlines having to rebook passengers on the same airline at no additional cost for “significant” delays and covering meals if there’s a delay of three hours or more.
Some will rebook on a partner airline at no additional cost.
What to do if your flight is canceled
The first thing you should do when you find out your flight is canceled is contact the airline.
Pawliszyn recommends calling while getting in line at the customer service desk at the airport. When you find out that your flight has been canceled, the first thing to do is contact the airline. Pawliszyn recommends calling while in line at the customer service desk. He said that it’s common for airlines to make agreements with one another. “They bend the rules to provide good service.” It’s worth a try, even if they don’t agree. “
If an airline cancels your flight, remember that you’re entitled to a full refund.
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Henderson suggests taking it further by reaching out to the airline on social media or even looking for the international toll-free number, especially during irregular hours.
“You want to use every tool in the toolbox to get yourself pre-booked first,” he said.
Always have a plan B
As an expert traveler, Henderson suggests that passengers know what other airlines are running flights around the same time. If your flight is canceled, it’s important to know what other airlines are running flights around the same time. It’s a good option to have. “
Henderson added that when you contact the airline, give them the competitor’s information and see how much they are willing to work with you.
If your flight is canceled, you may be entitled to additional compensation
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard, all major airlines– except for Frontier–will cover a hotel stay and transportation to the hotel in the event of an overnight cancellation. It doesn’t harm to ask for reimbursement from the airline if you incur expenses due to a cancellation. And keep in mind that many credit cards offer customers travel protection.
“When your flight is canceled, the credit card company can be your best friend,” Pawliszyn said. In this case, you can ask the credit card company to refund the money. “
Experts suggest keeping a record of all the expenses you have due to a flight cancellation.
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Pawliszyn also suggests keeping a record of all the expenses and conversations with the airline because it might come in handy when advocating for yourself and the compensation you’re entitled to.
“A lot of the time, it’s on the passenger to push the airline to resolve the challenge they have with you as a client,” Pawliszyn said.
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