When a flight in the U.S. delays or cancels due to weather, an airline doesn’t owe you anything. They might help you in some way, but they aren’t required to.
Generally speaking when your flight is cancelled and it’s the airline’s fault – mechanical, lack of crew – their responsibility grows. If they’re stranding you away from home that usually means providing you with a hotel for the night if you’re going to have to wait until the next day to fly.
However you may have to wait in long lines (with all other passengers) to get the room – if you can get an employee to help you, and if the systems they use have any rooms to offer. And when you finally get the room that’s being offered, it may not be up to your standards.
@AmericanAir if I get bed bugs or lice it's your fault pic.twitter.com/ikyIrtmXdw
— angel engineer.eth (@marissasummerc) February 17, 2022
Air Canada placed a woman with a younger man in a single room during an overnight. Hainan Airlines passengers once found themselves placed into an S&M-themed hotel on Valentine’s Day and forced to share a room during a delay.
And American Airlines sent 3 passengers to a single room without enough beds. But then even American Airlines pilots may not get rooms.
- Airlines look to spend as little as possible accommodating passengers
- They outsource availability and booking engines, and lowest-cost providers may not do a good job
- Especially since when airlines are providing lodging it’s often to a lot of people, soaking up all of the low-end demand
- And when demand is high hotels may be unwilling to take cheap negotiated rates
You’re much better off taking matters into your own hands if you can, recognizing that you’re not likely to get reimbursed by your airline.
Use a credit card that offers trip delay coverage when booking tickets, and use that coverage to get reimbursed for the cost of booking your own room at a hotel likely better and cleaner than what an airline will provide, plus cover your ground transportation and meals too, usually up to $500 on a qualifying delay.
[…] Airport hotels tend to get a bad name. Of course, there are exceptions like the TWA Hotel at JFK and this Hyatt at Orlando Airport. They serve a purpose, giving passengers a place to stay when they have an early flight or overnight layover. If your stay is planned, you can research and find a place that has recently undergone renovations and has a reliable hotel shuttle. However, if your flight is canceled or you miss your connection due to weather delays, you’re at the mercy of the travel gods. If the delay is the airline’s fault, they may provide a voucher for a night at a local hotel. If you’ve ever wondered, here are some reasons why airlines send people to the worst hotels. […]