Flight canceled or delayed? Here are your options

Flight cancellations and delays continue to pile up daily, as growing travel demand and staffing issues overwhelm local and national airports.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Newark Liberty International Airport was reporting 100 flight cancellations for the day, according to FlightAware.

If you’re the next unfortunate traveler whose trip is significantly adjusted at the airport or before your trip, there are options.

Can I get a refund for a canceled flight?

“Flights are being canceled, and rebooking options may not be until days later, or they may switch from nonstop to connecting,” said Heather D’Amico, owner of D’Amico Tourist attractions in Hammonton.

In the event of a canceled flight, most airlines will try to get you on the next available flight to your destination. Airlines may even look to other airlines to find you a seat.

But, you don’t have to take any of these offers. According to the US Department of Transportation, a consumer is entitled to a refund if the airline cancels a flight for any reason.

“Part of traveling right now is being flexible and going with the flow,” D’Amico said. “Once you have booked your flight, be aware that this is not necessarily the final schedule you will have.”

However, chances are you are more interested in getting to your destination, especially if that destination is your home. If so, D’Amico advises travelers to find a new flight from another city or airline as soon as possible, before working on the refund process for the canceled flight.

Can I get a refund for a delayed flight?

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You may be entitled to a refund from the airline, depending on a number of factors relating to your delayed flight. The process is a bit fuzzier when there is a delay, as refunds are only granted for “significant delays”, and the USDOT does not have a solid definition for this.

If you are ok with waiting for the next flight and have purchased travel insurance for your trip, the policy may cover additional costs incurred for meals and hotel stays. According to the USDOT, some airlines may offer these amenities to stranded passengers.

Airlines are not responsible for travel costs affected by a canceled/delayed flight, such as missed events or unused hotel nights.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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