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Whether you are a business traveler or traveling for pleasure, the news has been replete with reports concerning travel problems.
While we won’t be saying goodbye to Zoom meetings any time soon, business travel and tourism is steadily getting back to resembling pre-pandemic levels.
Flight issues are creating havoc as airlines struggle with safety protocols and pandemic-related staffing issues, as well as — more recently — weather woes.
As airlines continue to try to accommodate those many passengers impacted by problems caused by delays, the Better Business Bureau suggests some strategies for travelers and those who may be seeking recourse, compensation and refunds for cancellations.
As always, when booking a flight, allow yourself plenty of time, especially if you are traveling to a special event. Delays are frustrating and particularly problematic if it means you could miss something important such as a critical business meeting.
Make sure that your traveling party is compliant with rules and regulations involving luggage and carry-on items. Think about what is necessary when it comes to masks and vaccinations.
Directives for travel are subject to change, so make sure to understand the expectations and requirements at your destination and upon your return. Keep your cellphone handy for updates and messages from the airline that may affect activities.
When flying domestically, rules regarding flight delays and cancellations are overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In general, there are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide passengers with compensation for a delayed flight. Airlines may have their own policies and may provide better benefits if a flight was canceled or significantly delayed within the airline’s scope of control.
Keep receipts and records for expenses incurred. Passengers may have additional benefits if they purchased the flight with a credit card that offers additional travel protections.
Check with your human resources department or whomever booked your flight.
Rules are different for international flights that will involve laws and regulations of that nation.
When flights are canceled by the airline, passengers may make a claim for a full refund. If the airline offers a voucher in lieu of a refund, ask about restrictions, expiration and blackout dates.
You are not obligated to accept vouchers and may insist on a full refund. If the trip was canceled by you or your employer, however, you may not be entitled to a full refund.
If you are considering travel insurance, make sure that you have a complete and thorough understanding of costs and what the policy covers.
Bobby Hansen is regional director for the Better Business Bureau Cedar Rapids office; (319) 365-1190.