Do airlines owe you compensation for delays or cancellations?

Spencer Platt

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Police shoot armed woman at Dallas Love Field

An armed woman who was dropped off at Dallas Love Field Airport was wounded by a police officer after she opened fire inside the airport Monday morning, the Dallas police chief said. The 37-year-old woman, who was not identified, has been taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. No other injuries have been reported.

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So your flight was delayed or canceled. Does the airline owe you compensation? A hotel voucher?

A shooting inside Dallas Love Field airport on Monday caused cascading delays across the country involving more than 1,000 flights.

Airlines and airports always recommend checking flight status before embarking on a trip, but for those who got stuck, experts have some tips for staying comfortable.

Because of the airline industry’s light regulatory framework, there’s little consolation for American travelers when disaster strikes – be that bad weather, COVID-19 or other unexpected holdups, said William J. McGee, aviation adviser to Consumer Reports.

“When you run an operation as close to the bone as the airlines have been doing, then it’s not surprising when everything falls apart,” he said.

These days, navigating travel woes requires ingenuity and self-advocacy.

Get in line. Anywhere.

If you’re at the airport when your flight is canceled, get in line.

But you don’t have to get in line at your gate, said Andrea Ballard, travel adviser at Sanders Travel Center in Fort Worth.

“You can go to any gate agent for your airline, and they can help you. That’s one thing people don’t often know. Like if you’re flying American, an American agent can help you, ”Ballard said.

Do your research

While you’re waiting, get familiar with your other flight options.

“It’ll save time when you do finally get to talk to an agent,” said Ballard. “Do a little bit of the groundwork yourself, because they’re dealing with a hundred clients, and you’re only looking at your own.”

If you find an alternate route with a layover, Ballard recommends checking out the weather in that location, too.

It’s also useful to check out your airline’s contract of carriage, which can often be found on the airline’s website, McGee said.

While the documents are typically vague and difficult to interpret, they can better inform passengers what they’re owed by the airline in the event of a delay or cancellation.

Know your rights

As an airline passenger in the US, your rights are minimal, McGee said.

But here’s one to remember: if an airline cancels your flight, regardless of reason, you are entitled to a refund.

“Not a voucher. A refund, ”McGee said.

You’re also entitled to a refund for “significant delay.” Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation doesn’t specify what amounts to a “significant delay.”

Here’s what the Transportation Department says: “Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances. DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis. “

The amenities offered to delayed passengers typically varies by airline. For example, JetBlue offers up to $ 200 compensation for flights that are “significantly delayed” for several hours.

Delta will put its passengers up in a hotel if they are inconvenienced overnight “due to a delay, misconnect or cancellation within Delta’s control,” according to the airline’s website.

Delta, one airline at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, will rebook travelers on an alternative flight or convert their ticket to an eCredit for future use if there is a cancellation or significant delay. For non-refundable tickets, Delta travelers are able to request a refund of any unused portion of their ticket or for unused trip purchases, such as Sky Priority boarding or other select amenities.

American Airlines will also rebook travelers on the next flight with available seats in the case of a cancellation or significant delay. According to the airline, bags will be rerouted when checking in for your new flight.

American Airlines travelers can view or change their flight one of three ways: Through the airline’s app, website or by using a kiosk in the airport.

When flying United Airlines, another airline at DFW International Airport, travelers can check their flight or find a new one using United’s mobile app, website or a kiosk in the airport.

According to the US Department of Transportation, travelers are entitled to a refund if the airline canceled a flight, regardless of the reason, and they choose not to travel. Refunds can also be given if the airline made a significant schedule change or significantly delayed a flight and customer chooses not to travel.

The Department of Transportation has no clear guidelines on what constitutes as a significant delay – refunds are issued on a case-by-case basis and are dependent on the length of the delay, the length of the flight and other particular circumstances.

Should you find yourself stuck at the airport, you can ask airline staff to cover the cost of meals and other accommodations, the DOT said. Not all airlines will offer these amenities, however, and none are federally required to. When in doubt, officials said it’s best to contact your airline directly via phone, their mobile app or social media.

Ask for a hotel voucher or check out the lounges

Most airlines have contract with local or airport hotels, Ballard said. If you’re stranded for the night, ask the agent you speak with if you could get a hotel voucher.

Under these arrangements, a shuttle will typically be available to transport you between the airport and the hotel.

If you’re delayed for hours and had already gone through security, Ballard recommends finding a comfortable spot to wait out the storm.

Most airline lounges offer day-passes for about $ 100.

For folks stranded at DFW, Ballard also recommends checking out the Grand Hyatt.

“Even if they’re fully booked for the night, their restaurant area is stunning and has great seating. Order yourself a drink and an appetizer and you can have a more comfortable place to sit, ”she said.

Be assertive

“You need to be assertive with the airlines,” said McGee. “You need to invoke the contract of carriage and use their language. Ask them what the delay is due to. You need to assert what you want. “

Ballard added, “The people who navigate it the best are those who go into it with a flexible open mind.”

Know who to contact

Airline customer service agents can assist with questions, concerns or assistance on delayed and canceled flights. These are the numbers for the airlines at DFW International Airport.

  • AeroMexico: 1-800-237-6639
  • Air Canada: 1-888-247-2262
  • Air France: 1-800-237-2747
  • Alaska Airlines: 1-800-252-7522
  • American Airlines: 1-800-433-7300
  • Avianca: 1-800-400-8222
  • British Airways: 1-800-247-9297
  • Delta: 1-800-221-1212
  • Emirates: 1-800-777-3999
  • Finnair: 1-844-218-6391
  • Frontier Airlines: 1-801-401-9000
  • Japan Airlines: 1-800-525-3663
  • JetBlue: 1-800-538-2583
  • Korean Air: 1-800-438-5000
  • Lufthansa: 1-800-645-3880
  • QANTAS: 1-800-227-4500
  • Qatar Airways: 1-800-988-6128
  • Spirit Airlines: 1-855-728-3555
  • Sun Country Airlines: 1-651-905-2737
  • Turkish Airlines: 1-800-874-8875
  • United Airlines: 1-800-864-8331
  • Long live Aerobus: 1-888-935-9848
  • Volaris: 1-888-935-9848

Megan Cardona and Tanasia Kenney contributed to this story.

This story was originally published July 25, 2022 5:00 PM.

Jess Hardin covers growth and development. After graduating from Georgetown University, she completed a Fulbright grant in Georgia (the country) and did a brief stint of federal service in whistleblower protection. Jess comes to Fort Worth after helping launch digital news start-up Mahoning Matters in the wake of the closure of The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio. Send tips to or via Twitter to @jesslhardin.


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