So it’s time to catch your flight and you’re all set and ready to go. Maybe you’re headed on a much-needed vacation, to a graduation, a wedding, or even a honeymoon when bad luck strikes and your flight gets delayed or canceled. If it seems like this is happening more than it used to, that’s because it is. Which means it’s more important than ever to know what to do and how to find an airline’s contract of carriage when it happens to you.
Bad weather, staffing shortages, and pandemic spikes have been driving factors in delayed or canceled flights over the last few years. During the first week of April, for example, airlines canceled thousands of flights due to a bad storm in Fort Lauderdale, leaving many passengers stranded. An airline employee on TikTok named Natalie explained some of her best tips for what to do if your flight is delayed or canceled. And your first step should be Googling your airline’s Bill of Rights.
@adventuresofmattandnat Delayed or Cancelled Flight? ✈️ Tips & Tricks from an Airline Employee! #traveltipsandhacks #traveltips ♬ original sound – Matt and Nat
“If your flight is delayed or canceled, always google ‘Bill of Rights’ with the airline name. It’ll let you know what your rights are as a customer and what kind of compensation you would get for being on the tarmac for an hour — or maybe you’ve been in the airport for five hours — what you get for that,” Natalie says in the video.
On testing the advice, searching “contract of carriage” typically comes up with a better answer.
An airline’s Bill of Rights can be found on each airline’s website. It may also be called the “Notice of Rights” or “Conditions of carriage.” JetBlue for example, offers different amounts of compensation for cancellations, departure delays, onboard ground delays on departure, and Onboard ground delays on arrival. Passengers with a departure delay can receive between $50 to $200. On the ground delays can result in compensation between a $100 and $250 credit, and delays upon arrival can receive between a $50 and $200 credit.
On Delta Air Lines, the Contract of Carriage states:
“If there is a flight cancellation, diversion, delay of greater than 120 minutes, or that will cause a passenger to miss connections, Delta will (at passenger’s request) cancel the remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of the ticket and unused ancillary fees in the original form of payment in accordance with Rule 22, Go to footer note. If the passenger does not request cancellation and refund of the remaining portion of the ticket, Delta will transport the passenger to the destination on Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class of service originally purchased.”
Contract of carriage for major airlines based in the United States
- Alaska Airlines contract of carriage
- Allegiant Air contract of carriage
- American Airlines contract of carriage
- Delta contract of carriage
- Frontier Airlines contract of carriage
- JetBlue contract of carriage
- Southwest Airlines contract of carriage
- Spirit Airlines contract of carriage
- United Airlines contract of carriage
So know your rights — a frustrating delay may have a silver lining.