6 Ways to Tame Airline Nightmares

“At some point, flights were simply canceled and no one was alerted,” said Ms. Wareus. “We spent almost 10 hours in line and they were still checking people in, which was absurd.”

Ms. Wareus found a hotel and booked a flight home on American Airlines and paid $ 1,300 that she doubts she will recover.

FlyersRights, a nonprofit advocating for passenger rights, recommends passengers when writing to airlines to copy the Department of Transportation to pressure the agency to order adequate reserve equipment and minimum crews, and to force airlines from others Airlines pick up stranded airplanes.

“It used to be the rule and now it’s completely voluntary,” said Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights. “Now most of the major airlines will not redeem a low-cost airline ticket if there is a cancellation.”

In July, when her 8:00 p.m. flight from Los Angeles to Albuquerque was canceled at 2:00 a.m. due to a mechanical failure and postponed until the next day, Lani Rowe, who works on social media in Taos, NM, received a hotel voucher. After a $ 30 cab ride, she found that the hotel didn’t recognize the voucher and was still sold out. Back at the airport around 4am, the airline told her that she might get a refund if she could find a hotel.

“That’s a whole bunch of maybe I don’t want to deal with,” she said, choosing to stay at the airport, where she asked to be on an American flight to nearby Santa Fe, NM, the next morning to be seated at her home. She was successful.

There is no guarantee that an airline will be able to accommodate a route change, but a polite, realistic, and unemotional request can help. Bonnie Richter, a Detroit real estate manager, recently had a close connection via Amsterdam when she was trying to get home. Rob Stern, a travel agency based in Raleigh, NC that runs RobPlansYourTrip.com and is an acquaintance of Ms. Richter, suggested that she use the chat function to speak to the airline about booking another flight since Agents manning multiple flights can handle calls at once.

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