Canceled Flights: As thunderstorms moved in over the U.S. East Coast and Midwest this weekend, thousands of air travelers saw flight delays and cancellations during the busiest travel period of the year.
Airline interruptions were caused by poor weather in addition to a technological failure.
Due to an issue with the communications system at a significant air traffic control station, the Federal Aviation Administration briefly suspended operations at airports in the Washington, D.C., area Sunday evening.
After the repairs were finished, departures started again.
As thunderstorms moved throughout the nation, a string of flights were also cancelled or delayed at other significant travel hubs, such as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta.
According to flight tracking company FlightAware, nearly 2,000 domestic flights were cancelled on both Saturday and Sunday combined.
As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Monday, more than 850 domestic flights had been cancelled. Thousands more passengers encountered delays.
If your flight is cancelled, staying composed and being aware of your rights might help a lot, according to experts.
Here is some of their guidance on how to handle a canceled flight:
Airline Canceled Flight. Then what?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, most airlines will rebook you for free on the following trip as long as it has seats if you still need to go to your destination.
Even though you purchased non-refundable tickets, you are still entitled to a full refund if you decide to cancel the trip. In addition, you are entitled to a refund for any baggage fees, seat selections, or other expenses.
Former airline CEO and consumer travel advocate Kurt Ebenhoch has emphasised that customers are entitled to a refund in addition to future travel coupons.
If you do decide to use a voucher, be cautious to enquire about any blackout dates or other usage limitations.
Can I Ask To Be Booked In A Flight With Another AIirline?
Yes. The DOT states that although airlines are not compelled to transfer you to a flight operated by another airline, they occasionally do so.
While you’re waiting to speak with an agent, Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com, recently advised looking into alternative flights.
Giving agents options is helpful because they are frequently under a lot of strain when a flight is cancelled.
Ebenhoch also advised searching for nearby alternate airports to your initial destination.
Do I Have A Right To Receive A Hotel Room Or Other Compensation From The Airline?
No. As stated last month, the Biden administration is attempting to mandate that airlines pay passengers and cover their meals and hotel rooms if they are stranded for reasons beyond the control of the carrier.
However, as of right now, each airline still has its own policies regarding what to do with customers whose flights are cancelled, according to the DOT.
You should ask their personnel if they offer accommodations because many airlines do. Travellers can compare the cancellation and delay policies of major carriers using the DOT’s online dashboard.
I Have to Wait a Long Time to Rebook. HOW SHOULD I PROCEED?
Use the phone number designated for that level to call the airline if someone in your travelling party has a higher level in a frequent flyer programme, said Ebenhoch.
You can also try phoning the airline’s foreign helpline since such representatives have the authority to make modifications.
How Can I Stop This From Happening Again?
If you can arrange them, Ebenhoch indicated that morning and nonstop flights are typically the most dependable.
He advised thinking about spending the night before at an airport-connected hotel if you’re concerned about arriving at the airport in time for a morning flight. Also, think about avoiding crowded dates when you fly.
Klee suggested examining the DOT’s service dashboard to compare airline policy.
As long as the airline will give you a refund or credit for a future journey, he also advises making multiple reservations and canceling the ones you don’t use.
Do Flight Cancellations Have A Lower Trend In 2023?
Data from the FAA shows that compared to previous year, the number of flights that had to be cancelled decreased throughout the spring of 2023.
Officials from the industry contend that carriers have resolved issues that led to a spike in flight delays and cancellations last summer, when 52,000 flights were cancelled from June through August.
Since then, airlines have hired approximately 30,000 people, including thousands of pilots, and are employing larger planes to cut back on trips without cutting back on the number of seats.
Officials caution that there are still persistent labour shortages, particularly among crucial air traffic controllers. A further 3,000 controllers are being trained by the FAA, but they won’t be prepared for travel this summer.
This summer, the government resorted to pressuring airlines to cut back on flights in the New York City region and created 169 new aircraft routes across the East Coast to relieve congestion.
The FAA has made “limited efforts” to have adequate staffing at critical air traffic control facilities, according to a government audit released last week by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General.
The agency also noted that it “continues to face staffing challenges and lacks a plan to address them, which in turn poses a risk to the continuity of air traffic operations.”
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