Traveling this Holiday Season? Know Your Flyer Rights

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Tuesday is a peak travel day for folks traveling for their turkey.

Bradley International Airport expects to see more than double the number of flyers this holiday than last during the height of the pandemic.

So what do you need to know if you’re traveling by air?

“If a flight is cancelled, you absolutely have the right of a full refund back to your credit card, not a voucher. They don’t make that really clear and try to get you to agree to a voucher,” said Valeri French, owner of French’s Worldwide Travel out of Newington.

If you’re dealing with a dreaded delay, travel agents we spoke to say search online for the specific policy for the length of delay required for your airline to reimburse you, but you’d have to cancel your flight completely to get that money back.

“You can’t take a trip and get a refund. Unfortunately, they’re not that nice,” laughed French.

Thankfully, weather isn’t looking too impactful this Thanksgiving week because, “If you get delayed overnight and it’s due to a weather related event they [the airlines] don’t have to pay for your hotel room, but if it’s a mechanical they do.”

A delay can mean a lot of lost cash for consumers.

Blumenthal's 'Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights'

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) is pushing to get those passengers paid.

“The idea that delays are simply costless to consumers is bogus.”

His office says complaints against airlines more than doubled last year and nine out of every 10 were in regards to refunds.

For the second time, he's advocating for an "Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights," legislation he says would expand protections for air travelers.

This goes beyond getting money back for delays, but also would stop the implementation of smaller plane seats, eliminate unnecessary fees, and require compensation for oversold flights.

While Blumenthal doesn’t see any movement on the bill before the holiday season, he hopes it’s a warning to airlines that their could be future fines for issues customers say they are experiencing.

What to Do If Your Flight is Delayed or Canceled

If you flight is delayed or canceled, remember the race is on to rebook.

It’s a competition with your fellow passengers to find the few remaining seats on later flights.

So immediately try rebooking on the airline website or app.

Do some research before your trip so you have several backup flights in mind.

But if your ticket requires an agent’s help, work the phone while you wait in line. You could get someone on your cell before you even reach the counter. advocates for airplane passengers.

With 20-30% of flights reported to be delayed, they say always have a plan B.

“If you were told that there was a 20-30% chance that whatever you would do is going to be messed up, you’re going to want an alternate plan,” said president Paul Hudson.

They have other flyer’s rights tips and a hotline for passengers on their website.  

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