7 On Your Side tips: How to get a refund from airlines during travel troubles

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Thursday, January 12, 2023
How to get a refund from airlines during travel troubles
Amid the FAA outage and Southwest chaos, tips from Nina Pineda on how to get an airline refund or reimbursement after flight cancelations or delays.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Wednesday morning's FAA outage caused nearly 9,000 delays and canceled 1,200 flights. It was the latest travel woes just weeks after the Southwest airlines holiday fiasco.

But if you're dealing with travel troubles, can you get recourse and a refund? 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda breaks down what your rights are and how to fight.

A group of college sport coaches heading to a convention in Florida from Newark were among thousands unsure of what their rights were for refunds on flights that had be canceled because of the FAA outage.

A mom and her daughter were glad to know passengers are entitled to ticket refunds, regardless of the reason if the airline cancels the flight -- for the FAA issue or any other, like crew or mechanical problems.

"The Department of Transportation is crystal clear on this, if your flight is canceled or significantly delayed you're entitled to a full cash refund," said Scott Keyes.

Keyes, the founder of Scotts Cheap Flights, now called Going, points passengers to a United States Department of Transportation rule for domestic flights.

It says if your flight is canceled or "significantly delayed," the airline must refund you for the unused portion of the ticket - even if it's non-refundable.

You have to request it through the airline. Baggage fees are also refundable.

"Because this was an outage that was outside the airlines' control, travelers are not entitled to reimbursement for things like hotels, meals and alternate transportation," Keyes said.

Compensation is different than a ticket refund.

You're out of luck on hotel rooms or if your flight made you miss the boat and that cruise set sail without you, that's where travel insurance, or perhaps your credit card can protect you.

Start by going to airline's website and file a complaint.

Ask for the cash refund to go back to the card used for payment and don't settle for a travel voucher.

If you're denied for any reason, contact the DOT.

Getting compensated is a complicated process. The DOT recently created an airline customer service dashboard so passengers know what airlines are promising in the event of a cancelation or delay.

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