Know your air travel rights

If you ever canceled a flight, you had a boarding card but you were denied boarding because they booked in excess, they were hit shortly before boarding, they sat on the board. asphalt for hours or have discovered that luggage has been lost or delayed on arrival at your destination, you know how infuriating it can be.

This is particularly stressful if it is not just you and now you have a scrum of angry passengers who want to book. Simply put, they are stressed and upset and make it obvious, then you have drunk and crying children that add to the stress level when all you want is to get on a plane and get there on time.

In all these cases, the airline owes you problems. Sometimes it's by law and other times it's just good customer service – not all airlines are the same in the way they handle a variety of problems. Here are some of your legal rights that you may not know you have ..

Research and know your rights in advance

It makes sense to know your rights before booking. When you're stuck at the airport it's not time to start searching to find out what you're entitled to and what rights you have in the particular situation you end up with. There are two resources that will help you understand your rights US Passenger Protection Act of the US Department of Transportation and the Air consumers' flight rights.

Block the rate in advance of payment

When booking a flight it is possible to book and lock the price for 24 hours or more without payment depending on the flight booked. It works when you book directly with the airline or with your travel agent. This will not necessarily work if you book your rate online. At the time of booking it is necessary to provide the exact name on the passport or identity document. The names cannot be changed and if it is wrong the reservation would be canceled starting from the search for a new rate probably at a new price more expensive. This process gives you 24 or more hours to decide if that is the flight you want before making the payment. Remember that any changes requested during this period will cancel the booking and start over with new information.

Prices change rapidly in the airline sector based on the volumes booked on flights. Booking the last minute will probably cost you much more than booking 2-3 weeks. When you get a good quote on the flight, you want to block it while making a decision rather than losing the price while you decide.

Bumped flights

You may not be aware, but if you are hit by a flight or if your luggage is lost or delayed, you have the right to ask for cash. If they ask for volunteers because a flight is booked in excess and offer a voucher for a future flight or a combination of money and vouchers, most people will accept it. If this is good with you, then take it, but according to Airfare Watchdog you can request a cash payment on the spot depending on the amount of delay in your arrival at destination .:

According to the rules of the US Department of Transportation, bumped passengers subject to short delays will receive compensation equal to twice the price of their tickets, while those subject to longer delays would receive payments four times the value of their tickets. There are limits in place, so check the list of DOT rights for the last compensation limits.

Short delays are 1-2 hours for domestic flights and 1-4 hours for international flights. Longer delays are sometimes more than these. For final cancellations, the airline must pay a full refund, even on non-refundable flights.

Late or lost baggage

If baggage is delayed or lost, you are also entitled to compensation. Some airlines offer nothing but delivery at home or hotel of destination when luggage arrives, others offer a small amount of money to cover basic necessities like toiletries, and others may offer a discount coupon for a future flight. The law actually states that you are entitled to a maximum of $ 3,300 for late baggage on domestic flights and up to $ 1,500 for late baggage on an international flight. The amount is determined by how long you are without baggage. If the baggage is completely lost, you are entitled to a full refund. Check the DOT bill of rights for the latest compensation limits.

Airlines are also required to apply the same baggage compensation for each segment of the journey if you have more than one flight, including those with interline and code share partners.

Asphalt delays

The time that airlines are allowed to let you sit on an airplane on the asphalt before they allow you to get on board has changed. On a domestic flight the airline cannot keep you on the plane for more than 3 hours before allowing you to land. On international flights the time that they can keep you on the asphalt is 4 hours. Airlines are required to provide access to the water and to the bathroom at any time during the delay.


Airlines will often give you what works for them, flying over what is best for you and the rights of passengers. Your best defense is to know your rights and be willing to follow them when you need to.

Most airlines will try to offer you a travel voucher, a discount on a future ticket, an additional flight upgrade or additional flight miles instead of cash. If you are satisfied with one of these, take them.

The airlines will do their best to book you again on another flight or with another airline. Instead of waiting in the line after a flight has been canceled, call the airline directly to book again, you will be booked much faster than waiting in line. Take note of the airline's contact number and keep it handy for any eventuality.

Better to be prepared and know your rights before you fly, then you will know exactly what to do if and when the time comes.

In my next article I will explore how to complain and how to get what you are entitled to.