Your Flight Is Delayed, Then Leaves Without You
What happened: After you checked in, the gate agent announced a two-hour delay. You went off for a snack, and when you returned an hour later, the flight had already left.
What the airline should do for you: “Airlines should warn people not to wander too far,” says Burke, “and passengers should check in with gate agents for frequent updates.” It is not considered the airline’s fault if you miss a flight under these circumstances, but some, like JetBlue, will put you on the next flight if a seat is available.
Next time: Stay put until a new boarding time is announced and posted, says McGee.
The Airline Goes BustWhat happened: The airline from which you bought your ticket stops flying.
What the airline should do for you: Other airlines flying the exact route for which you hold a ticket are required by federal law to give you a standby seat for no more than an additional $50 each way.
Next time: “Protect yourself by flying only those carriers in sound financial shape,” advises Perkins. (An online news search can often reveal whether a particular airline has been struggling.) And pay with a credit card: According to federal law, if you buy an airline ticket (or anything, for that matter) and don’t get what you paid for, you can contest the charge and the credit-card company must delete it from your bill. However, you must contact your card issuer in writing within 60 days of seeing the charge on your bill―so if your ticket was purchased far in advance, it may be too late to complain when the carrier goes out of business.