YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING right—you’ve
packed your bags, gotten to the airport early, perhaps even taken the time to get an extra set of batteries for your new noise-canceling headphones.
Then you get the announcement: Your flight has
been delayed or, even worse, canceled completely.
With long lines, additional baggage fees and
extra security precautions at the airport, going on
vacation can challenge even the most seasoned traveler. With the holidays right around the corner,
chances are you could face the reality of snafus during peak travel times. What can you do about it?
Know your rights. Cancellations and delays happen. Before they ruin your trip, or your finances,
you need to know your passenger rights. These
rights are in the legal notices provided by your airline, specifically in the contract of carriage, an agreement that spells out what the airlines promise you
when you book your ticket. These important and
individual rules regarding what you are entitled to
are available on most airlines’ websites.
Each airline has its own specific policy with
respect to delayed flights. This is currently an unregulated aspect of air travel in the United States. It is up
to you to know, and ask, what a particular airline can
do for you in the case of a flight delay or cancellation.
Recognize there are no guarantees. Many factors
make it impossible for airlines to guarantee their
schedules. Some of these factors, such as air traffic
delays, bad weather and mechanical issues, are hard
to predict and beyond even the airlines’ control.
Often these predicaments are as inconvenient for
the airline as they are for you.
Read the fine print before you book. Policies
vary widely around the industry and in each case
are dependent on the nature of the delay, diversion
or cancellation. Fine print is not exciting to read
in the best of times, never mind when you have
a crying 2-year-old on your lap and a set of grandparents waiting for you in another city. Read
the fine print before you book your ticket so you
can be as informed as possible in the event of an
Ask questions upfront. Here are some questions
you might want to ask an airline representative in
advance of booking your ticket: What types of in-airport vouchers do you offer in the event of a canceled or delayed flight? What is your rebooking
procedure in the event a flight is canceled? Who are
your partner airlines, and do they have seats available in the event of a canceled or delayed flight? Are
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you able to provide trip vouchers for future travel in
compensation for my inconvenience? If I am stuck
in a particular location, what are your policies with
respect to hotels, food and transportation?
The airline assumes that your schedule is
important to you, and generally their first priority is
to get you to your destination on time—that is, after
all, what they are being paid to do. But as a passenger, you can be proactive on your own behalf and
prepare for the unexpected before it happens.
Consider travel insurance. Purchasing travel
insurance is an individual decision and may
depend in part on the cost, length and nature of
your trip. Travel insurance may be unnecessary if
you already have adequate coverage from other
sources, such as your credit card and/or insurance
policies. Once you find out what coverage you
already have in place, you may conclude
the additional benefits provided by
travel insurance are not worth the cost.
Travel insurance has specific limitations in the fine print, so if you are
considering travel insurance, make
sure you understand what the
drawbacks of the policy are as
well as the possible benefits.
Make your travel experience as leisurely as possible. Book an early flight to
give yourself more options
if there is a delay. Check
the airline website for
updates before you leave
for the airport; it takes
just a moment from your
computer or smartphone
and you could save yourself
hours of headaches.
For more information,
visit the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s website at
www.dot.gov, where you can
find the most relevant and current information about your
travel rights. C
MY RESIDENCE is next door
to a construction site, and
the company starts working
very early in the morning.
The workers are loud and
they often leave trash
around the neighborhood.
I’ve tried communicating
with the contractor on the
job, and he basically gives
me a “tough luck” attitude.
I’m wondering what, if
anything, I can do.
Los Angeles, California
Try to contact the owner of
the home and discuss a
win-win solution that takes
both your needs and theirs
into account. Your local or
state building authority will
have all pertinent informa-
tion about the property and
its owner. The permit for
that property allows
certain rights of
making noise as
long as permit
followed. If you
believe the site
is in violation
of local and/
can request that an
inspector from your
local or state building
authority come out
and inspect the site.
Your local police
department will also
have speci;c noise
for construction sites in
your area. C
© 2012 FIGH T BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
AMY CAN TRELL
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate. Visit his blog at
back.com or email him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a frequent guest on radio
and television stations. Consult your local listings for dates and times.
OCTOBER 2012 ;e Costco Connection 17
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