The Air Travel Rights You Aren't Aware of (and How to Get Them)

If you’ve ever sat in a plane on the tarmac only to have the flight cancelled, been bumped just before boarding, or landed at your destination only to be told your luggage will arrive sometime in the next 12 hours, you know how air travel can suck. In all of those cases, the airline owes you for your trouble. Sometimes it’s good customer service, and other times it’s the law. Here are some of the legal rights you may not know you have, and how to go about filing your claims or getting what’s due to you if you’ve been wronged.

Know Your Rights Before You Book Your Flight

Being prepared for what might happen starts before you even get to the airport. We’ve discussed the airline passenger’s bill of rights and your basic rights when flying before, but you may not know that your rights begin before you even buy your ticket. Cockpit Confidential: ... Smith, Patrick Best Price: $1.25 Buy New $14.71 (as of 03:05 EST - Details)

You Have the Right to Lock In Your Fare In Advance, Without Paying

For example, most people don’t know that you have the right to book airfare and then lock in the price you see for 24 hours without payment. As long as you’re booking directly through the airline (third party travel booking services don’t necessarily have to abide by this rule), you can see a price you want and lock it in while you decide whether or not you want to take it. In a time where our minds are trained to assume prices change by the minute, it’s a benefit few people take advantage of, and all you have to do is call your airline to get the price locked in and reserved, without being charged for it. Here are some more tips to lock in your fare in advance.

You Have the Right to Cash for Bumped Flights and Delayed Luggage The Power of No: Becau... Altucher, James Best Price: $1.93 Buy New $9.88 (as of 03:40 EST - Details)

Similarly, if you’re bumped from a flight involuntarily, or you arrive at your destination and your luggage is delayed, you’re entitled to cash, not vouchers or a discount on a future flight. The US Department of Transportation says:

Airlines will now be required to refund any fee for carrying a bag if the bag is lost. Airlines will also be required to apply the same baggage allowances and fees for all segments of a trip, including segments with interline and code share partners. Airlines are already required to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.

Those “reasonable expenses,” according to Airfare Watchdog, are up to $3,300 for domestic flights, and $1,500 for international flights, depending on the duration of the delay and the value of your luggage.

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