Travel

Flight delayed or canceled? What you need to know about refunds and rescheduling

Stranded travelers at Sacramento airport talk about outage hassle

A widespread network outage Wednesday morning at Sacramento International Airport stranded travelers and delayed flights.
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A widespread network outage Wednesday morning at Sacramento International Airport stranded travelers and delayed flights.

Computer network issues causing delays and cancellations are an inconvenient reality of air travel.

Wednesday’s network outage at Sacramento International Airport stranded early morning travelers, creating a chaotic scene.

Although federal law does not require airlines to compensate passengers whose flights are canceled or delayed, most will work with you, according to Time Magazine’s Money.com. You’ll likely be booked on the airline’s next available flight if yours in canceled; alternatively you could also request a refund or rebook on your own accord through the airline – but you shouldn’t be penalized with any fees for the alterations, according to the article. Out-of-town travelers might get offered by the airline to be put up in a hotel.

If you’re opting to wait out a delay, your airline might try to make your life a little better with meal vouchers or other deals, but Money.com recommends being polite with the representatives and reminding them of your standing if you’re a card-carrying member of their loyalty program.

Such courtesies are usually only extended when the problem is within the airline’s control, according to airfarewatchdog, but in the event of a computer outage, passengers can ask for a refund if their flight is severely delayed, a subjective term but usually defined as two hours.

In the end, it depends on your airline.

“The almost universal policy is that when an airline cancels your flight, regardless of cause, you have a right to a full refund equal to the remaining value of your ticket,” according to airfarewatchdog.com. “A few lines’ contracts do not specifically promise a refund, but in practice a refund is almost always an option.”

Here are links for more information on the refund policies of airlines servicing Sacramento International Airport: American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United Airlines, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, Southwest and Volaris.

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