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5 Things Holiday Air Travelers Should Know

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

It's holiday air travel season, which typically means crowded airports, inclement weather, and delayed flights. For some, it'll also mean lost luggage, TSA pat-downs, and unwelcome requests from crew members.

There's not much you can do to prevent any of these events, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything should they occur. After all, airline passengers have rights.

But remember, they also have some responsibilities. Take a look at the list below.

1. Cancellations, delays and being bumped. Unfortunately, there are no federal regulations that require compensation for canceled or delayed flights. But if you're bumped, you're likely entitled to the cost of a one-way ticket.

2. Lost, delayed and damaged baggage. The airline will almost always be responsible for lost and damaged luggage. Federal law also requires the return of all baggage fees if permanently misplaced. But that doesn't help much if you're away from home.

Whether an airline must reimburse you for the day's necessities depends on your contract of carriage. Talk to an on-site representative before leaving the airport.

3. Sitting on the tarmac. Though you can't sue an airline for such a delay, airlines are subject to certain restrictions. Holiday air travelers must be allowed to deplane if there's more than a 3-hour delay. They must also be provided with food, water and bathroom access.

4. Children flying solo. While airlines have some responsibility to children flying alone, it's not absolute. It's ultimately the responsibility of parents to prepare their children and only send those who can handle safely handle the trip.

5. You can't do that on an airplane. Or in an airport. You're free to think that the TSA or flight personnel are making ridiculous demands. But if you don't comply, you and your travel companions will be kicked off the flight.

So for the sake of a happy holiday, do what you're asked and complain later. Don't let holiday air travel ruin your plans.

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