How to Deal With a Flight Cancellation

Bad weather, mechanical problems, airline strikes, and other unexpected circumstances can all cancel flights, often impacting hundreds or thousands of travelers. Should your flight be cancelled, there aren't many things you can do, but you do have several options. This article offers steps on how to deal with a flight cancellation.


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    Understand your rights. Don't book a flight without knowing what rights you are entitled in the event the flight is cancelled. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's website for all of the information you'll need to know.
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    Visit the airline's website. Learn the policies regarding flight cancellations and overbooking, as well as the restrictions of your ticket type.
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    Call the airline to rebook if you're already at the airport. This may help you avoid long lines at the ticket counter.
    • If you're a member of the airline's priority passenger club, there are often personal ticketing agents inside the private member lounges that can help you reschedule. Take advantage of these benefits, or you face waiting for possibly hours in the general public ticket line.
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    Find out if other airlines are offering alternative flights. Call or go online to check competing airline's flights to your destination, if any. It will likely be more expensive, but worth the price to get you where you need to go on schedule.
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    Seek compensation if you're bumped from an overbooked flight. Airlines generally can provide financial reimbursements to bumped passengers in the form of ticket vouchers if your bumping requires a delay longer than an hour. Be sure to ask about restrictions such as expiration dates and seating policies.
    • Seek compensation if the airline goes out of business before your scheduled flight. You can contact your credit card issuer to remove flight charges in such a case.


  • Nowadays, most airlines have computer programs that can quickly rebook you should your flight be cancelled in order to minimize waiting and frustration.
  • Federal law does not require airlines to compensate passengers whose flights have been cancelled. Despite this, most airlines will still reimburse you to attract your future business with them.

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Categories: Travel Tips | Air Travel