Flight frustrations! Do you have delayed flight rights?

The holidays are wrapped up and now it’s time to start setting our sights on spring break. But as we saw during the holidays, flight delays and cancellations can really throw your travel plans into chaos. The Department of Transportation reports Frontier Airlines has the worst on-time arrival performance in 2023. Alaskan had the best on-time record. As for canceled flights, United topped the list with the most canceled flights last year. But what are your rights? Do airlines have to reimburse you? Is there anything you can do to make sure you get to your destination?

Bad weather … mechanical issues … air traffic control delays … even passenger meltdowns.

There are several reasons why your flight may never take off. But what are your rights?

So, what are your rights if this happens to you? Airlines are legally obligated to compensate passengers for delayed flights that are considered controllable. The Department of Transportation lists controllable delays as maintenance or crew problems, cabin cleaning, baggage loading, or fueling. Airlines do not have to compensate for uncontrollable delays such as weather and air traffic control staffing.

The FAA reports that weather caused 65 percent of delays last year … meaning a large majority of delayed flights are not covered by most airline compensation guidelines.

In the event of a flight cancellation, consumers have a clearer path to compensation. Regardless of the reason for the cancellation, airlines are legally required to offer a full cash refund to passengers who choose not to travel, even if you bought a nonrefundable ticket. Additionally, passengers have the right to request a rebooking on the next available flight to their destination with no additional cost.

Hoping you never have to deal with this problem and your next flight is on-time.

So how do you find out if your delay was controllable or not? You can call the carrier or check out the FAA website to find out if it’s weather or air traffic control staffing problems delaying your flight. If the airline fails to provide adequate assistance, consumers can file a complaint with the US Department of Transportation.

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