Independence Day weekend may feel anything but liberating for air travelers this year

David Lyons, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Business News

“Farther north, a front initially oriented from the Northeast into the Ohio Valley and central Plains will push gradually eastward during the [holiday] weekend and support organized areas of showers and storms along and ahead of it,” the weather service says.

Defending against disruptions

In an interview prior to the Memorial Day weekend, Clint Henderson, managing editor of the The Points Guy, an online advice guide for travelers, offered these ideas for grounded and delayed fliers:

—In advance, learn what flights are available aboard other airlines along the route you intend to travel. “You should know before you go what carriers are operating on that route,” Henderson said. You can track and check the status of flights through the online FlightAware or Flight Radar 24 tracking sites, which would give you a leg up on other passengers.

—On your phone, download the airlines’ apps for a quick reference tool. If a flight gets canceled, you may be able to rebook yourself on the app.

—Check with your airline’s gate agent for revised flight times. Don’t rely solely on electronic boards in the terminal, as they’re not always up to date.


—If your flight gets canceled you can go to the re-ticketing line. While doing that, go on the app to see if they have a rebooking option and message the airline about your situation on Twitter.

—Airport lounges: If you’re a member of an airline club with access to a lounge operated by your airline, pay it a visit. There will likely be an airline agent there to help with re-bookings and updated alternate flight information.

—Canceled with no flight options? Check for airport hotels if you’re not looking to return home right away. Better to wake up rested and refreshed to take on the next day. Whether an airline pays for the overnight depends on a variety of situations. If the airline is a major carrier and the delay or cancellation is their fault, such a crew shortage, the carrier will foot the bill. But Henderson says if the delay is caused by an act of God, such as the weather, “it’s hard to say in black and white that yes, you will get a refund or that insurance will cover you.” If you’re on a discount carrier or regional airline, or if you book the lowest fare class ticket in economy, the airline won’t pay.

—Reimbursements: Certain credit cards offered by Chase and American Express (which charge significant annual fees) do have trip delay coverage. That means the travel insurance will pay for the cost of hotel lodging, ground transportation and meals. You’ll likely have to pay for additional expenses upfront, but can get a reimbursement later.

—Refunds: Don’t settle for a voucher from an airline for future travel. Under federal rules, you are entitled to cash.

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