Knowing your passenger rights can pay off

August 1, 2013 8:35:49 PM PDT
When you buy a airline ticket, you probably search for price and by date of travel. But travelers should be searching for something else as well.

If there is problem, like a canceled flight, knowing your rights can help you when it comes to getting what you are entitled to. And if you are going overseas, you should find out your rights there too.

Renae Virata's trip to London was great, but that changed when she got on the plane to come home on July 9.

"We ended up being delayed three hours and the issue was a mechanical issue," Virata said.

United Airlines gave passengers meal vouchers as required by European Union rules since the flight originated in Europe. Virata says passengers then got back on the plane.

"We ended up waiting and waiting, and finally, they tell us we need to leave the plane again and that our flight is canceled because the crew was exceeding its hours, and by aviation law, they could not continue to work," Virata said.

EU rules state United was required to get hotel rooms for the stranded passengers, but Virata says the airline could only find a conference room and sleeping bags.

Virata says she found her own room. She says United gave each passenger a list of their rights, which includes 600 Euros in compensation in cash for the canceled flight. That's about $800 but...

"I have not heard a single word from them," Virata said.

United Airlines told us:

"Customers on Flight 125 on July 9 were offered a set of compensation options as goodwill for the inconvenience of their severe delay, along with a statement of their legal rights, including EU compensation regulations.

"We invite customers to contact us directly to discuss any questions they have about their compensation."

Virata says she's done just that. United told us they are aware of the claims and are working on it.

U.S. carriers are not required to give passengers financial compensation, but they must book you on another flight and may send you on a competing airline if you ask.

You can ask for meal and hotel vouchers too, but carriers in the U.S. are not required to provide that if the flight originated in the U.S.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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