By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If your flight is delayed and you miss your connection, who pays?

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When travelers on British airline Thomson Airways’ flight was delayed on New Year’s Eve, the airline paid to put them up in a five-star resort. Bet the passengers on the Persian Gulf air flight from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco who were stuck on the tarmac for 12 hours last month were jealous.

Given the difference in the way airlines treat passengers, what’s your legal right to compensation if your flight is delayed or canceled?

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As you can see, it depends on the policy of the airline. This is because there are no federal requirements.

Contrary to popular belief, airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled. Compensation is required by law only when you are “bumped” from a flight because it’s oversold, not when a flight is delayed or canceled because of mechanical or weather-related issues.

Airlines almost always refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight like a missed connection.

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So give yourself plenty of time to make connections. Consider travel insurance. And fly to England so you can take Thomson Airways.