Airport troubles are the most highly prevalent foul-ups when you are on the move. And the first question that pops up in any flyer’s head is – “What are my passenger rights? Is the system heavily one-sided or do I have a say in anything too?”
Except that you do. With the Department of Transportation (DOT) getting more stringent about airline management, many flyers’ rights have been transfigured too.
So here’s all you need to know about passenger rights when traveling by air:
1. Publishing Honest Fares
Passenger rights have helped flyers get rid of costs hidden behind the asterisk signs on taxes and ‘Conditions Apply’. The airlines are bound to include all the compulsory taxes and fees in the published airfares. So basically, the prices that flash on your screen are the ones you pay.
2. Rules against Bumping
The airline owes you compensation if it involuntarily bumps you into overbooking. This means that you are entitled to a seat in the subsequent flight. The airlines may even offer a bonus ticket or miles (rewards) for the inconvenience caused. However, this rule holds only if the airline isn’t able to get you to your destination within one hour of your scheduled arrival.
Bumping rules vary between domestic and international flights, but you surely get a compensation of at least 200% if the authorities take more than an hour to get you going. Also, this compensation only goes higher with the waiting hours.
3. Modification or Cancelation of the Ticket
If you are making your flight booking at least a week before flying, then you have the right to change or cancel your ticket within 24 hours without any penalty. You can even hold a ticket for 24 hours before finally paying for it.
4. Information on Route or Schedule Change
DOT mandates the airlines authorities to inform you about any route changes, flight cancellation or delays. However, this doesn’t stop the airlines from not changing the route. Often, a non-stop flight gets converted into one with halts, and all you get is a notification. In such a scenario, passenger rights enable you to demand a full refund of the ticket (without any cancellation penalties) along with a subsequent rebooking.
5. Delayed or Lost Baggage
Passenger rights related to lost luggage can be called adequately lopsided. Suppose you have your wedding dress in the checked in luggage and this very bag gets delayed or lost. Consider it hard luck, as in this case, only your basic toiletries and essential stuff will get compensated. In very rare situations would you get compensated for the things that you hold the receipts of, but there isn’t any certainty.
6. Perks in case of Flight Delays
In case of flight delays, the airlines authorities are bound to provide you with:
- Snacks and refreshments
- 2 phone calls or e-mails
- Hotel accommodation or transportation if there’s a night stay.
However, if these amenities further delay flying, then the airlines are entitled to reduce such provisions.
7. Issues with seat selection
Sadly so, seating arrangements aren’t a part of the Contract of Carriage. So even if you select your preference for a seat with more leg space, you might as well just end up in the middle aisle, right next to the toilet.
However, if you get a coach seat against your first or business class ticket, then your passenger rights allow you to demand compensation in cash or miles (rewards).
8. Laws with Tarmac/Airstrip Delays
Airlines are prohibited to make the tarmac delays for more than 3 hours. Only for safety/security reasons can the airlines go overboard.
That’s all about passenger rights. Now you know enough to not get deceived. Just make sure you go through the Contract of Carriage for the airline you are flying with, before boarding. Safe travels!