Your rights as traveler, tips to avoid airline cancellations

Thousands of air travelers are being left in the lurch each day.

Thousands of air travelers are being left in the lurch each day.

Some airlines are canceling anywhere from 5% to 50% of their flights on any given day, creating massive issues for thousands of travelers. Is there any way to avoid these problems? And what are your traveler rights? The Sum takes a look.

To Sum It Up

  • In some cases, individual companies have canceled upwards of 800 to 1,800 flights in a single day, which is the equivalent of roughly 10% to 20% of all of their scheduled departures.

The Background

Why airlines can’t resume normal flight service:

  • They laid off employees at the start of the pandemic and didn’t have new recruits lined up to fill those spots when needed.
  • Training flight crews, including pilots and attendants, takes several months, so new personnel can’t just be added to the rotation.

  • Because of relaxed mask mandates, crew members are calling in sick with COVID-19, leading to more shortages.

What’s Happening

  • Without adequate flight crews, airlines have no choice but to cancel flights or move passengers to different ones.
  • Many passengers end up spending more money due to cancellations or changes they had no say in.

  • Some passengers are even paying to travel to their destinations early just in case flights get canceled or moved.

Why It Matters

  • Consumers are trying out other forms of transportation, like cars, trains, or buses, and building in extra time to travel in order to anticipate delays.

  • Some airlines may see a decline in customers if they get the reputation of being totally unreliable.
The Sum How Can You Work Around So Many Airline Cancellations.png
Here are some air travel tips to combat cancellations.

Know Your Rights

  • The airline must offer you a refund if your flight is canceled for any reason.

  • You’re entitled to a refund after “a significant change or delay.” However, that’s up for interpretation.
  • Airlines are required to send a credit to your credit card company within 7 days of receiving a completed refund application.

  • That refund may take up to 30 days to show up in a statement.

The Sum Air Travel question.png
If canceled or changed flights become the norm, consumers might change the way they travel entirely.

No Matter What

  • Be patient and kind to staff and fellow travelers.

  • Build in extra time to travel days and trips in general.

  • Bring all of your items in carry-on bags if you can to avoid losing luggage.
  • Have any documents you need easily accessible.


This story was originally published August 11, 2022 4:55 PM.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

The Sum breaks down complex economic issues and how they impact your life in just a few minutes a day. Follow @ on Instagram for the full story.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.