Two separate American Airlines passengers shared stories of being forced to sleep in the airport after flight delays over the weekend. They may have made a basic travel error.
My bed for tonight thanks to the amazing @AmericanAir My flight was supposed to leave at 1 am, after we board they decided to “delay it” until 1:30 pm.. AA didn’t even provide us with hotel.. just a $12 meal voucher… Great! I don’t have hotel but I have $12 🙄😡 pic.twitter.com/ISAry5MUfj
— Krist Zamora (@KrissZamora) March 4, 2023
— Preston Steger 🌊 (@prestonsteger) March 4, 2023
If an overnight delay was American’s fault they’ve committed in their customer service plan to provide hotel nights for passengers. If they fail to do that you should get your own room and seek reimbursement and if that is not forthcoming file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
The truth is, though, you’re probably not going to like the process. You’re getting what you pay for.
- You may have to wait a very long time to get a room, eating into the time you’re able to sleep
- Even airlines that will provide you a room automatically through their app may not have any rooms available (at their discount rate) to provide you
- Or they may overbook the hotel they’re sending you to
- And it’s probably not a place you’d want to stay to begin with
In line for flight info and voucher at #albuquerque airport. Our flight disembarked 2 hours ago. Just 1 service person. Help @AmericanAir I’ve been here for hours #stuckintheairport pic.twitter.com/34QSwA29lq
— Allie Plihal (@allie_plihal) September 1, 2022
American Airlines flight attendants have complained of being stuck sleeping at the airport and a pilot was stuck sleeping in a hotel lobby. What chance do you think passengers have?
Yet this isn’t just a U.S. airline issue. Air Canada has sent a man and a woman, who didn’t know each other, to a hotel to share a room. And in China, Hainan Airlines put passengers up in an S&M-themed hotel.
So what do you do instead?
- Rely on your credit card coverage. Pay for your ticket with a credit card that offers trip delay coverage, book your own room and save receipts for it, along with ground transportation and meals.
You’re assured the property you are comfortable staying in. You won’t wait. And you can look farther afield if need be. Sure, airport hotels might well all be booked. But if you aren’t spending an hour in line to get the room is a 20 minute drive away from the airport (also billed to trip delay coverage) so bad?
- Request a distressed passenger rate. If you don’t have credit card trip delay coverage, and you can’t find a good rate on your own that you’re willing to pay, one alternative to the long line may be the baggage office. Ask there about distressed passenger rates for hotels. If the line is long at your airline’s baggage office, or it isn’t staffed, be friendly and ask at another airline’s baggage office, it’s worth a shot.
- Use points. Airline hotels often are great deals on points, with reward costs based on a hotel’s average daily rate which tends to be brought down by large airline contracts for housing crew. A few thousand points from your stash can get you a far better night’s sleep, more quickly, than relying on the airline.
Not everyone can get a premium credit card with trip delay coverage, or float the hotel until they obtain reimbursement. But there’s no reason in particular to believe that the passengers sleeping in the airport this weekend couldn’t. And everyone who flies should learn their rights, embedded in customer service plans, to a hotel when most airlines are at fault for an overnight delay. Those who can’t arrange their own accommodations, during weather or air traffic control delays, are in a tougher spot.