Canceled or Delayed Flight? Here are Your Options
Flight cancellations and delays continue to pile on daily, as increased travel demand and staffing issues overwhelm airports locally and nationwide.
At 4 PM on Wednesday, Newark Liberty International Airport was reporting 100 flight cancellations for the day, according to FlightAware.
If you're the next unfortunate traveler whose trip is adjusted drastically at the airport or ahead of your trip, there are options.
Can I get a refund for a canceled flight?
"Flights are being canceled, and the options to rebook might not be for days later, or they might go from a nonstop flight to a connection," said Heather D'Amico, owner of D'Amico Travel in Hammonton.
In the event of a canceled flight, most airlines will try to get you on the next available flight to your destination. Airlines may even look to other airlines to find you a seat.
But, you don't have to take any of these offers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a consumer is entitled to a refund if the airline cancels a flight, regardless of the reason.
"Part of traveling right now is being flexible and rolling with the punches," D'Amico said. "Once you book your flight, know that it's not necessarily the final schedule that you're going to have."
Chances are, though, you're more interested in actually getting to your destination, especially if that destination is back home. If that's the case, D'Amico advises flyers to find a new flight out of a different city or airline as soon as possible, before working on the refund process for the canceled flight.
Can I get a refund for a delayed flight?
You may be entitled to a refund from the airline, based on a number of factors related to your delayed flight. The process is a bit murkier in the event of a delay, because refunds are awarded only for "significant delays," and USDOT doesn't have a solid definition for that.
If you're fine waiting around for the next flight and you happened to purchase travel insurance for your trip, the policy could cover extra costs incurred for meals and hotel stays. According to USDOT, some airlines may offer these amenities to stranded passengers.
Airlines are not responsible for any trip costs affected by a canceled/delayed flight, such as missed events or unused hotel nights.