Whenever passengers book for a flight with their favorite air service, they expect to be transported to their destination according to schedule. In a perfect world, that is how things should work. But alas, we do not live in a perfect world.
There are unfavorable circumstances beyond the control of air travel service which would either delay, divert, or cancel the passengers' trip. During these adverse times, what rights to travelers have?
The United States Department of Transportation (or simply DOT), tasked in making travel efficient and secure, can provide answers with regards to passenger rights during such crises. Depending on the rules and regulations in the country, their reponse might also be applicable in other locations.
If most of the airline crew decided to stop operations and go on strike, passenger flights are certainly canceled. Should this happen, airlines are not required to put delayed flight travelers in a hotel, pay for their meals, refund the fare, divert departures or transfer it to other airlines. Those whose bookings have been hindered should only expect one thing - the air service is obliged to get them to their intended destination according to DOT.
Christopher Elliot, air travel customer expert, also shared tips and advice on how to go about the process should a flight be canceled, delayed or diverted due to unforeseen events.
'If the airline isn't operating flights, you are entitled to an immediate refund. Period,' Elliot added.
In the event that a certain passenger would rather have his flight diverted than refunded, most airlines are more than willing to help. Most of the times, they would book the new flight with their airline partners and may even transfer it to other partners but it is important to note such measures are not required. It is a good idea then to get flights from air services that are part of a network. This way, they will be able to divert bookings faster.
'It's always a good idea to know your rights before you fly,' Elliot said. 'That way you don't end up paying for something that the airline should have taken care of.'
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