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Flight cancellations can be a travelers' nightmare

Airline Passenger Rights

1. Request rule 240, which in the US stipulates that the airline must deliver you to your destination within 2 hours of your scheduled flight time. If it can’t (and delay isn’t due to weather) it must arrange your ticket on another flight at no additional cost. But you must ask for it–airlines will not usually volunteer this information

2. Airlines will try to re- book you on their own flights, regardless of how inconvenient they may be for you. They want to keep the revenue. Their flights may delay you further or require stop-overs and a change of planes.

3. Know your rights and ask for the next direct flight on any airline.

4. Rebook yourself. If the line is too long, step out and use your cell or payphone to call the airline for an alternate connection. Even if that departure is on another airline than the one you have the ticket for, the airline will often honor your ticket if the plane has an empty seat.

5. Be extra nice to airline reps. They have offered me upgrades on future flights and food coupons worth $40 for my inconvenience.

6. Figure out where you’re going to spend the night. Don’t call a hotel’s 800 number–call the hotel manager directly. The manager on duty can offer last-minute rooms with rates as much as 35 percent less expensive.

7. Make sure the airline gets your luggage off the plane and rerouted to your next flight.