WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of air travelers faced flight cancellations or delays as thunderstorms hit the U.S. East Coast and Midwest this weekend in the height of the summer travel peak.
In addition to bad weather, technology glitches have also caused airline grounds. The Federal Aviation Administration suspended operations at airports in the Washington, D.C. area on Sunday evening due to a problem with the communications system at a major air traffic control facility. Departure resumed after repairs were completed.
Besides Washington, DC, other major travel hubs such as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta experienced thunderstorms across the country, delaying or canceling a series of flights.
Nearly 2,000 U.S. flights were canceled Saturday and Sunday, according to air-tracking service FlightAware, and more than 850 U.S. flights were canceled as of 11:15 a.m. ET Monday. Thousands more travelers experienced delays.
Experts say staying calm and understanding your rights can go a long way, even if your flight is cancelled. Here are some tips for dealing with flight cancellations.
My flight has been canceled. what next?
If you still want to get to your destination, most airlines will rebook you on the next available flight for free, as long as seats are available, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
If you want to cancel your trip, you are entitled to a full refund even if you purchased a non-refundable ticket. You are also entitled to refunds of baggage fees, seat upgrades and other additional charges.
Kurt Evenhoch, a consumer travel advocate and former airline executive, stressed that travelers are entitled to refunds, not just vouchers for future travel. When obtaining a voucher, be sure to inquire about blackout dates and other usage restrictions.
Can I request bookings for flights on other airlines?
yes. According to the DOT, airlines don’t have to board another airline’s flight, but they can and sometimes do. His CEO of CheapAir.com, Jeff Klee, previously recommended looking up alternative flights while waiting to talk to an agent. Agents are usually under a lot of pressure when flights are cancelled, so it helps to give them some options.
Evenhoek also suggested looking for an alternative airport closer to the original destination.
Should the airline provide me with a hotel room or other coverage?
No, as announced last month, the Biden administration is seeking to require airlines to compensate travelers and cover meals and hotel rooms if they are stranded for reasons under the airline’s control. is. But for now, airlines are still offering customers whose flights have been canceled, according to the DOT.
Many airlines offer accommodation, so check with airline staff. DOT also has the following features: online dashboard This allows travelers to compare cancellation and delay policies of major airlines.
It takes a long time to rebook. what should i do?
If any of your travel companions are in a higher tier of the frequent flyer program, Ebenhoch said, call the airline using the number reserved for that tier. You can also try calling the airline’s international helpdesk as they can make changes.
How can I avoid this in the future?
Ebenhoch said direct flights and morning flights are generally the most reliable if they can be booked. If you’re worried about catching your morning flight, consider staying at a hotel directly connected to the airport the night before, he said. Also, consider flying during non-peak seasons.
Klee recommended comparing airline policies. DOT Service Dashboard. We also recommend booking multiple flights and canceling the ones you don’t use, as long as the airline is willing to refund or convert them to credit for future flights.
Will flight cancellations trend down in 2023?
Through the spring of 2023, the number of canceled flights trended lower than last year, according to FAA data.
Industry insiders say 52,000 flights were canceled between June and August last summer, and the airline has fixed a problem that contributed to a spike in cancellations and delays. Since then, the airline has employed about 30,000 workers, including thousands of pilots, and has used larger planes to reduce the number of flights, but not the number of seats.
Still, officials warn of a lingering shortage of personnel, especially among key air traffic controllers. The FAA is training about 3,000 more air traffic controllers, but they won’t be ready to travel this summer. The agency pushed airlines to reduce flights in the New York City area this summer and opened 169 new flight routes on the East Coast to reduce bottlenecks.
in the government audit The report, released last week, said the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation found that the FAA was making “limited efforts” to adequately staff critical air traffic control facilities, and said it “continues to face staffing challenges and lack plans to address them.” This in turn poses risks to the continuity of air traffic operations. “
https://www.wkrg.com/travel/canceled-flight-heres-what-youre-entitled-to/ Flight canceled? You have the right to