Friday, January 7, 2011

Travel delays: What the airlines DON'T want you to know

With this past strange year of weird weather seemingly designed by Sybil - from volcanoes to winter storms of biblical scale, air travel can seem a bit dodgy. So, it's good to know your rights.

I am re-printing this from Frommer's website - this is what the airlines would prefer you DON'T know about your rights if you are stranded.

The EU and Canada both have laws that can help stranded travelers. The U.S., notably, doesn't.

The EU has the strongest protection for flyers. EU protections apply if you are flying out of an EU airport, or if you're flying into the EU on an EU-flagged carrier -- which makes it useful to fly, say, Air France rather than Delta. If a flight has been cancelled or subject to a "long delay" (which is 2-4 hours depending on destination), passengers are required to be allowed to contact two people outside the airport and get refreshments and hotel rooms at the airline's expense. There is no limit on the amount of time they have to put you up.

In Canada, if your flight is delayed more than four hours, airlines must provide passengers with a meal voucher. If it is delayed more than eight hours and overnight, the airline must pay for a hotel -- but only if you're in the middle of a trip, not at your destination or arrival point.

But beyond those countries, you're basically at the mercy of your airline.

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