Consumer Reports: Know your rights when you travel

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Spring is just around the corner, and you may already be planning a trip.

But what do you do when traveling goes wrong?

From flight delays, to cancellations, or overbookings, it's up to you to know your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

Few things kill a vacation vibe quicker than being stuck in the airport because of a delayed or cancelled flight.

Unfortunately, experts at Consumer Reports say travelers have very few rights when things go wrong.

"But being informed will help you get the compensation you're due -- if you stand up for yourself," said Lauren Lyons Cole of Consumer Reports.

When it comes to cancellations, each airline handles things differently.

Delta, for example, will either put you on its next available flight or re-book you on another carrier.

Southwest, on the other hand, only re-books passengers on the next available Southwest flight. Check specifics for the airline you're traveling.

Get bumped, however, and you do have recourse.

"Overbooking isn't illegal, but if you're bumped involuntarily, in most cases the airline has to re-book you in a timely manner, or pay you," said Cole.

They might even have to do both. On domestic flights, if the airline re-books you to land one to two hours later than your original arrival time, the airline has to cover your ticket and pay you double your one-way airfare, up to $675.

If the delay is more than two hours, or the airline doesn't make any alternative arrangements for you, you are due four times your one-way airfare, up to $1350.

And if an airline tries to give you a travel voucher, demand the cash. You're entitled to it.
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