This weekend over 3,500 flights were cancelled or in the U.S. due to a combination of weather and technological issues in Florida.
Many had no choice but to wait for another flight because they needed to get home; but for others, the question became whether to reschedule or get a refund.
For consumers unsure of how to proceed let me be clear: you are entitled to a full refund if your flight was cancelled.
It says clearly on the Department of Transportation website that you are due a refund if:
- The airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the consumer chooses not to travel [or]
- If the airline made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the consumer chooses not to travel.
In these cases you are entitled to a refund for the flight; this applies to non-refundable tickets as well.
However, for those who experienced delays, this is a bit trickier.
You see, there is no set definition of what constitutes a significant delay; that is set by the individual airlines.
As a result, you may need to be persistent if you were or are going to be stranded for hours.
Here are the time frames for the major airlines:
- American Airlines: 4 hours
- Delta Airlines: 2 hours
- JetBlue: 2 hours
- Spirit: 2 hours
I spoke with travelers who were affected by cancellations this weekend and many complained they were offered a voucher for a future flight and not a refund. This happened with several people I spoke with flying with Jet Blue and American Airlines.
If you feel you are not getting a refund you are due, you can ask to speak with management or file a complaint with the Department of Transportation using this form.