7 On Your Side: What to do if the airline cancels your flight

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
7 On Your Side: What to do if the airline cancels your flight
Thousands of flights were canceled across New Jersey and New York as severe thunderstorms create calamity during peak summer travel season.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Wild weather has caused thousands of flight delays wreaking havoc for frustrated passengers-- ruining trips and disrupting vacation plans across an already strained system.

Take peak summer travel season, mix in severe thunderstorms and you've got a recipe for cancellation calamity. So what should you do if your flight's canceled? 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has all the tricks of the trade to make the skies a little bit friendlier.

A delayed passenger at LaGuardia Tuesday morning was on the phone with the airline trying to rebook while at the same time dealing with long lines filled other with frustrated passengers trying to get their own flights rebooked.

"When it comes to weather they will give you a refund because you can't travel when you want to especially when they're canceling the flight," said The Miles Man Eric Lipkind.

We caught up with Westfield's The Miles Man, aka Eric Lipkind who's currently enjoying a Mediterranean cruise far from the madness in his home garden state as Newark, along with JFK and LaGuardia play host to stranded passengers looking at days of delays.

"Have patience," Lipkind said. "Take a step back and breathe."

Eric said DOT regulations give stuck passengers two options.

Passengers can cancel their flight and get their money back, even if they bought non-refundable tickets, they should also get refunded for any bag fees and seat upgrades.

But if they still want to get to their destination, most airlines will rebook passengers for free on the next available flight as long as there are seats available.

If your flight has been canceled, make your way to a gate agent or customer service desk and get online right away.

If someone in your party has status with an airline, use the agents inside the club level where lines will be shorter.

While you are waiting in line start dialing, and call your airline.

If you've already left the airport call the airline's international number, they'll likely be less swamped than the domestic lines right now and you may be able to snag help with getting rebooked and rescheduled.

Remember, while you are entitled to a refund airlines aren't required to compensate. There's a difference.

"A refund is where you'll get your money back for a flight that didn't happen, compensation is where you're going to get something above and beyond as a gesture of good will from the airline," Lipkind said. "You might get miles, you might get a travel voucher good for future travel, you might get a hotel which is less likely in the event food voucher."

If you do take a travel voucher for future travel, make sure you ask about blackout dates or other restrictions on use.

" If you're not happy with that I always suggest emailing the CEO," Lipkind said. "You can find the CEO's email by going on Google. They have a department who will then reach out to you and give you more of what you want."

Aside from emailing the CEO, The Miles Man said to tweet at the airline directly and start a chat on the airline's app.

It's important to remember airlines won't volunteer any perk or voucher you have to ask if you want.

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