Question: Airlines Covering Weather Canceled Flights

photo: wiki
photo: wiki

By Jason Coleman

If my flight gets canceled because of weather and we are stuck overnight in a city –does the airline carry any responsibility in providing accommodations or food? 

Unfortunately not.  In fact, this is a common misconception with many travelers.  Most travelers are under the false assumption that if a flight delay occurs due to weather or something outside of the airline’s control, the airline is not obligated to provide any compensation or accommodation.  But if the flight delay occurs due to something airline related — a mechanical matter, a delayed flight crew, or any other delays that are the airline’s fault — many passengers wrongly believe the airline is obligated to compensate them or make accommodations like provide a hotel room for the night or meals at the airport.  And this is completely untrue.

Unless you have been involuntarily bumped from your flight, the airline is under no legal obligation to provide you with any compensation or accommodation.  If you’ve ever received a hotel room, a free meal, or any other service and you weren’t involuntarily bumped, then you should feel all kinds of warm fuzzies for that airline because they did it out of the kindness of their corporate heart — and also to keep you as a loyal happy passenger.

So if the airlines aren’t responsible to provide you with the services you want when you’re delayed, what options do you have.  Third party insurance is a great option.  Third party insurance will take care of you whenever you’re the victim of a qualifying delay.  They’re great for helping you arrange a hotel, get rebooked, and so many other wonderful services.  And travel insurance is a great thing to have even if you don’t get delayed!  So long story short, don’t leave home without your third party travel insurance.

Email your question to [email protected].

Jason Coleman is a travel advisor with over a decade in the travel industry. You can connect with Jason He can be heard every week as a contributor on the Weekend Travel Show

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