Thousands of flights cancelled today – refunds explained

More than 7,600 flights were cancelled yesterday due to the enormous winter storm bashing the US from coast to coast, with more delays and cancellations to be announced today. Major airlines like Delta and Southwest have been affected.

SkyWest, Delta and Southwest all cancelled between 253 and 345 flights by mid-morning yesterday, and Delta delayed over 460 trips.

The website FlightAware posts live updates on cancelled or delayed flights. The site’s Misery Map displays where is most affected by delayed flights

Currently, Minneapolis is the worst affected region, with the majority of flights either cancelled or delayed. Second worst affected in Boston, followed by New York City and Washington D.C.

Can you get a refund if your flight is delayed?

Airlines are not required by law to give a refund for delayed flights. The US Department of Transportation explains: “Compensation is required by U.S. law only when certain passengers are ‘bumped’ from a flight that is oversold.”

It went on: “If your flight is experiencing a long delay, ask airline staff if they will pay for meals or a hotel room. While some airlines offer these amenities to passengers, others do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers.”

If your flight is cancelled, the US Department of Transportation explains: “If your flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any bag fee that you paid, and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment.”

What can you do if you think your flight will be delayed?

If your flight will be delayed or cancelled, the airline may already have contacted you for a chance to change your flight for no extra fee.

Always check the status of your flight before you travel, to avoid being stuck at the airport. Airlines do not have to accommodate you somewhere if your flight is delayed, and it is likely to be more comfortable to wait at home and travel later.

If you are at the airport and your flight is very delayed, ask politely if there is anything the airline can do to accommodate you. Some may accommodate you, and being polite will get you further with staff who might have the power to help.

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