What You Need to Know When You Fly

What You Need to Know When You Fly

There are rules for both airlines and passengers


WASHINGTON, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — When travelling, consumers need to follow airline regulations, but can also enforce their rights as passengers.

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To avoid any issues while traveling, be informed about airfare, ticketing, flights and luggage.

Airfare and fees

Airlines are required to disclose all fees on their websites, such as the price of the ticket, and fees for meals, baggage, and reservation cancellations and changes.

Many airlines offer non-refundable tickets. Passengers who cancel their trip may not get their money back. However, passengers may reschedule their trip for a fee.


Airlines can sell more tickets than they have seats available. This ensures there won’t be empty seats on a flight in case a passenger cancels a trip at the last minute. Airlines may negotiate with passengers affected by overbooking by offering money, miles or discounts in other flights in exchange for their seats. Passengers “bumped” from their flights involuntarily are entitled to compensation, in most cases.

Flight delays and cancellations

Airlines do not guarantee their schedules. When flights are delayed passengers can ask for a ticket transfer if they find a similar flight on another carrier. The airline can also try to find another flight without charging an additional fee.

In case of tarmac delays, domestic flights cannot remain on the tarmac for more than three hours, except for reasons of security, safety, or air traffic control. After two hours, passengers must have access to food and water.

Damaged and lost luggage

When luggage has been mishandled, passengers can ask the airline to pay for any damages. If the luggage can’t be repaired, an airline representative will negotiate an appropriate payment. However, if a suitcase has fragile items, is poorly packed or has no outside evidence of damage, the airlines can refuse to compensate.

Filing a complaint

For any flight-related problems, passengers can file a complaint directly with the airline. If there is no response within 60 days, the complaint can be submitted online to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

To learn more about travel issues, see USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

What You Need to Know When You Fly