After repeated incidents of traveler violence, extreme air turbulence, and general disregard for passengers more and more travelers are walking away from air travel. But that does not mean that people will never fly again. Most people will fly again and if you fly, you better be ready to get bumped from your flight. Planes need maintenance. Weather delays happen. You can’t always avoid canceled flights. What you can, and should, do is know what to do when you get bumped. You are not helpless and often have recourse or rights to compensation to make up for time lost. You just have to know what to do.
Mark Elwood, contributing editor of Conde Nast Traveler, sat down with the “Today Show” crew to talk about the best time to book a flight and passenger rights. While some of the interview is opinion, Elwood had some excellent insight to what you can practically do when bumped.
1. Be polite: You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Most airline employees get blamed for situations they can’t control, but can help you get out of the situation you are in. They are used to being yelled at so kindness and patience on your part will go a long way.
2. Get a written copy of your rights: It’s part of the system and not out of the ordinary. This will inform you of what you can and cannot do in your situation.
3. Potential compensation: It all depends on how much later your rebooked flight arrives at your destination. If it’s more than an hour after your originally scheduled, you are entitled to 200% of the one way fare up to $675.
Elwood went on to discuss “basic” flights, a new booking airlines are using to compete for low fares. The problem is, your ticket is very basic and you will have less rights and access.
Basically, you should stay away from basic airfare unless you can travel very light.