Your Rights in the Sky

If you love the crowds and the rush of the holiday season, you'd be better off at the airport than the mall. The projected number of people flying this coming holiday is up 5 percent from last year. That's an additional 120 thousand passengers a day taking to the skies!

The group AirHelp.com has posted a list of passenger rights both in the US and Europe so if you experience delays, disruptions or are denied boarding you can get that free advice on their website. Here are a few of the highlights:

If you are denied boarding, experience tarmac delays or experience luggage problems, you may be eligible for compensation.  Here is what AirHelp.com suggests for overbooked flights:

Do not volunteer to give up your seat in exchange for vouchers or perks.If you do, you could be giving up your right to any additional compensation. Of course, if the airline makes a compelling enough offer, you may prefer to take it. The final decision is up to you.

Hold onto your boarding pass and any other travel documents.If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

Ask why you’re being denied boarding.The most common reason is being “bumped” due to an overbooked flight, but there are other reasons you may be denied boarding, as well. This information is important down the line if you decide to file a claim.

Request an alternate flight to your destination.Or, if you prefer, you can request a refund of your fare and a return flight to your original point of departure, if necessary.

Request compensation for your boarding denial.Provided you’re eligible, the airline should pay you immediately once you’ve been denied boarding for your flight. That’s in addition to offering you the re-routing or refund mentioned above.

Ask the airline to cover your meals and refreshments.If you are forced to wait at the airport longer than planned, the airline is supposed to provide food and drinks to keep you comfortable. It’s not just good hospitality, in some cases it’s a requirement.

Get the airline to provide you with a hotel room.If you’re being grounded overnight while waiting for an alternate flight to your destination, the airline should cover any reasonable costs for accommodations as well as transportation to and from the airport, if necessary.

Keep your receipts if your boarding denial ends up costing you extra money.Whether it’s missing out on a pre-paid reservation, hotel, rental car, or other unexpected costs, passengers on international flights — even within the EU — may be able to recover expenses caused by travel disruptions.


You can read more about passenger rights on their website: AirHelp.com



Cristina Mendonsa

Cristina Mendonsa

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