Airline Rights You Should Know as a Passenger


Hand luggage at the airport

Photo: Getty Images

From lost luggage to delayed flights, passengers have rights that they can enact when something like this happens that they may not even know about. Lawyer Erika Kullberg has uncovered the truth for many travelers in her Instagram Reels. Here are some big ones:

You’re entitled to compensation for being bumped. Airlines commonly oversell their flights so they don’t lose money. But if everyone shows up, that means there won’t be enough seats. If you’re bumped involuntarily you are entitled to compensation. Those who volunteer to be bumped aren’t always compensated but they do have some bargaining power.

  • You may be able to negotiate a free ticket, other travel vouchers, or even request a check for cash instead. The amount depends on how delayed your arrival at your destination (compared to your original arrival time) will be:
    • 1 to 2 hours (1 to 4 hours on international travel): a minimum of 200% of your original one-way fare or $775, whichever is lower
    • 2 hours or more (4 hours or more internationally): a minimum of 400% of your original one-way fare or $1,550, whichever is lower

You may get compensation for delayed, damaged, or lost luggage

  • Most airlines will negotiate a settlement for external damage to your bags or belongings.
  • They may also reimburse you for “reasonable” expenses or emergency purchases while your luggage is delayed.
  • If the airline loses your baggage completely, you are entitled to a refund for any fees, and you can submit a claim.

You have the right to food and water during long tarmac delays

  • If you're stuck on your plane as it sits on the tarmac for two hours or more, the airline must provide food and water to passengers.

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