Legal Rights and Terms – What To Do if Your Airline Leaves you Stranded (Part 1)

Legal Rights and Terms – What To Do if Your Airline Leaves you Stranded (Part 1)
As traveller’s, many of our concerns tend to lie with finding the best deals and tickets available for our trips but do we really know anything about the carrier’s that we’re choosing to fly with? Not really, no. Would you know what to do if your carrier all of a sudden started cancelling flights or even stopped flying entirely, yet here you are holding their tickets? Many times when an airline is in trouble, they show no signs of it and of course, we as consumers are none the wiser. Many can operate very well under bankruptcy protection for months and even years, and then successfully reorganize but there are some who just can’t. This is also not something that you just find with low cost, smaller airline companies. It happens to the major airlines as well. Look at what happened to Air Canada and very recently we’ve watched South America’s largest carrier, Varig, go through it as well and the situation mentioned above was very real for many of their customer’s (Varig now has new investor’s and is in the process of being reorganized). You may or may not be surprised to know that you don’t have many legal rights when it comes to being a ticket holder. If you’re flying with a US carrier, there is more protection offered in this area than you may find with a non-US carrier. The best way to avoid these situations always comes down to research. If you want to be proactive, research the airline you are going to be flying with and know your legal rights. Why do you find more protection with US carriers vs non-US carriers? There is a law in the US commonly known as Section 145, that requires other carriers to honour the tickets of passengers who were bumped from a failed US carrier but this law doesn’t apply to foreign carriers. Although the EU doesn’t have a law for this, they are looking into the situation and do however, have another law that the US does not currently have; the EU requires that airlines compensate passengers when it comes to delays and cancellations for most situations. So if most airlines are only offering very limited protection, just where do rights lay? They lie within the Warsaw Convention, which is an international agreement last amended in 1999. Under Article 19, you will find that it states in general, an airline is “liable for damage occasioned by delay” unless it can prove it took “all measures that could reasonably be required” to avoid the problem. The issue within this, is that it doesn’t address bankruptcy and it also doesn’t specify what exactly the “damage” or conpensation is, although most courts have limited it to economic loss. So if you are unsure of the carrier you want to fly with, the best thing to do is research what you can about it. A great website that you can refer to is http://www.airlinequality.com/ You will find a ton of great information and reviews regarding everything to do with air travel. In tomorrow’s blog, I’m going to show you the top 3 things that you can do to protect yourself from this kind of a situation. So until then, here are a few good resources on the airline industry! and always have travel insurance on you vacations! Atlas Travel Insurance plans starting at a $1/day Happy Travels,

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