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Airline Passengers Have Limited Legal Rights

File photo of United Airlines plane (credit:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File photo of United Airlines plane (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What are your legal rights if your flight is cancelled?

Nothing is more frustrating than a cancelled flight on your way to a vacation in paradise. Well, maybe a zombie invasion. But you probably need a force more powerful than a lawyer for that one.

As for your legal rights if the flight gets cancelled, though, you’d be better off fighting a zombie. Because if you get bumped off a flight because of an airline overbooking error, you may receive cash compensation or a voucher for free travel and will be rebooked on a different flight. But there’s no federal law that protects passengers in the event of what’s called a force majeure event which is an event like bad weather that’s out of the airline’s control.

Your recourse depends on your airline and what they’ve put in your contract for the ticket. Many airlines say that they will attempt to rebook you on a different flight, even on another airline, but they don’t guaranty it. And, while some will put you up in a hotel, most don’t pay for your extra stay because of flight cancellation so you’ll be left to find your own hotel room or sleep on the floor of the airport and you really will look and feel like a zombie when you finally arrive.

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