Know your rights as airline passenger
We are sure you’ve already read a bunch of things about the incident on United Airlines flight, and in order to make sure that doesn’t happen to you, you need to know the regulations at all times. Most travelers believe they know their rights, but the truth is somewhat different. There are plenty of laws in place to protect passengers in the US, but unfortunately, most of them are pretty complicated. Well, in this article, we’ll try our best to narrow it down to basics, while using simple terms that everyone can understand.
So, without further adieu, let’s get down to business.
In case of flight delays
Although flight delays aren’t that uncommon, there are certain rules and regulations you should stick to in order to get the maximum out of this unfortunate situation. First of all, make sure to hold onto your traveling documents at all times, especially boarding passes. In case you’re already on board, the airline has to provide water and food for the passengers, and if the situation doesn't get cleared after three hours, they need to let everyone off the plane.
While US airlines aren’t obliged to provide passengers with compensations, there’s always hope that a bit of nagging might result in a hefty reimbursement. In some cases, you could earn up to $600 for your troubles. It’s definitely worth a shot.
In case your flight gets canceled
Unlike travelers from the European Union, US passengers don’t have a lot of rights in regards to flight cancellations. Similarly to flight delays, you should also always keep your boarding pass close by. One thing you can do is request an alternate flight to your desired destination. Certain airlines will even provide compensation for their passengers, but unfortunately, this is not general practice. Either way, if your plans fell down the drain, hold on to your receipts, and you might eventually be able to recover expenses caused by the flight cancellation.
In case you’re denied boarding
Overbooking a flight isn’t all that uncommon, but there are several steps you can take in order to protect yourself. You’d be surprised to hear just how many people give up their seats when offered perks from the airline. While it might seem tempting to accept these vouchers, this move will deem you ineligible for any future compensations. Don’t be afraid to ask why your seat is getting bumped, as airlines cannot show any signs of discrimination towards their passengers. Furthermore, passengers with disabilities have special rights in regards to accomodation, so make sure to save your reservation if this isn’t honored, as you’ll be eligible for compensations.
In case you’re having problems with luggage
Finally, we come to the main concern of travelers from across the nation. In case your baggage gets damaged or lost during transport, know that you aren’t so hopeless after all. First of all, file a complaint the minute you notice there’s something different with your luggage. While some airlines accept complains of damage for a few days after the trip, most of them only cover for immediate accidents.
Almost all airlines have special online forms designed for this purpose, but it’s oftentimes safer and faster to report the damage in person. These forms are known as Property Irregularity Reports. Bring your bags with you and point out the specific damage you noticed. After the inspection checks your claims, the airline will offer a solution, which ranges from repairing the damage on the spot to money compensations. Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s the things inside the bag that get damaged the most, and this can set you back a considerable sum, especially if you’re carrying expensive tech along. In order to make sure your travel gear is safe, inspect the content of your bags on the spot. On average, compensation for lost or damaged luggage ranges from $1,500 - $3,500, and we are certain you wouldn’t want to be missing out on all that cash. Sure, this ordeal can be insanely stressful, but at least you’ll be covered financially. Sometimes, knowing your rights can pay off in a big way.
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