How airlines will deal with delayed passengers

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How airlines will deal with delayed passengers

It is a territory infrequently traveled when it comes to the massive and complex U.S. flight system. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, all domestic flights have been unable to take off.

What should travelers do if their scheduled travel has been affected?

There are no federal laws that require airlines to give passengers money or other compensation when their flights are delayed, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers. If a flight is significantly delayed, customers should ask airline staff if the carrier will pay for meals or a hotel room, but neither of these are guaranteed.

If a flight has been delayed for more than two hours or canceled, many airlines have policies that allow passengers to get a full refund for the unused portion of their ticket. Each airline will decide what passengers may be entitled to, because the ground stop Wednesday could be classified as a force majeure event, also known as an act of God outside the airline's control. The DOT's passenger rights dashboard only applies to events that were within an airline's control.

A travel waiver has been activated for customers who need to change their plans, including refunds for customers who don't want to travel.

Southwest Airlines is rebooking customers on the next available Southwest flight with seats available at no additional cost. Customers who don't travel due to a cancellation or significant delay can get a refund of the unused portion of the Southwest ticket upon request, according to the airline.

There is not much that a person can do in this scenario, other than hitting the road in a vehicle or jumping on a bus to their next destination. It is not guaranteed that an airline will reimburse them for the expense if they do so.

Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor of The Points Guy travel website, said all anyone who expects to fly Wednesday should have patience.

He said that if the FAA can restart its system quickly, passengers who are already at airports whose planes are waiting at gates and who have pilots and flight attendants will be on their way pretty quickly after the ground stop is lifted.

It is going to be a horrible day for everyone else.