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What you can get from different airlines in case of a flight delay or cancellation

There are no federal laws in the US requiring airlines to provide free hotel passes or meal vouchers in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. Instead, individual airlines set their own rules. What are you entitled to if the flight was delayed, the publication found out Business Insider.

Photo: IStock


If your flight is canceled or delayed for more than four hours between 22:00 and 06:00, the airline will provide you with a free voucher for a "subject to availability" hotel accommodation in accordance with the airline's contract of carriage.

In addition, Delta will provide free public ground transportation to the hotel if the hotel does not offer a shuttle service.

If accommodation is not available, Delta will offer the passenger "a voucher that can be redeemed for future travel on Delta flights, equal to the cost of a hotel stay, up to a maximum of $100."

In the event of an overbooked flight, Delta will provide transportation for passengers who voluntarily give up their seats or are forced to leave the flight.

If for this purpose the passenger needs to stay overnight, the airline will provide him with free accommodation in a hotel.

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The airline is not required to provide a hotel voucher if the travel disruption was caused by "force majeure", which, as determined by Delta, includes the following events:

  • weather conditions or natural disasters;
  • riots, civil anger, embargoes, war, hostilities or international unsettled conditions;
  • strikes, suspensions, slowdowns or other labor disputes;
  • government regulation, requirement or directive;
  • lack of labor, fuel or equipment;
  • any other conditions beyond Delta's control, or any other fact that Delta could not reasonably foresee.

United Airlines

United Airlines (UA) will provide a hotel voucher if a passenger experiences a delay caused by the airline and is expected to exceed four hours from 22 pm to 00 am local time.

If a hotel room is not available, United says it will provide "compensation for one night's stay in the form of an e-Travel Certificate that can be applied to future travel" with that airline.

United recommends talking to a customer service agent about overnight accommodation options to see if you qualify for additional accommodation.

“While we do not provide free hotel accommodation if your flight is delayed or canceled due to reasons beyond our control, we can provide you with a discounted hotel stay and free toiletries if you cannot reach your luggage,” it says. on the United Airlines website.

United defines disruptions to travel that are not attributable to the company as:

  • any conditions beyond the control of UA, including meteorological or geological conditions, natural disasters, riots, terrorist activities, civil unrest, embargoes, wars, hostilities, riots, or unsettled international conditions;
  • any strikes, work stoppages, slowdowns, lockdowns or other labor disputes related to or affecting UA services;
  • different government regulations or requirements;
  • any shortage of manpower, fuel, or UA facilities;
  • damage to the aircraft or UA equipment due to the fault of the other party;
  • any emergency requiring immediate assistance and protection of a person or property;
  • various events that the airline could not reasonably foresee.

“Whenever there is a delay or cancellation, we work with customers to get them on their way as quickly as possible. Depending on the reason, these options may include hotel and meal vouchers,” a United spokesperson said.

American Airlines

The following are the rules for using American Airlines vouchers for hotel receipts according to their terms of carriage:

“If the violation was our fault, or you were sent to another city, and you do not board before 23:59 local time on the scheduled day of arrival, then we will arrange an overnight stay or cover the cost of the hotel. We do not guarantee a refund for hotel stays if you make a direct booking without written approval from American Airlines.

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If the delay is beyond our control, or if you book on your own without the written approval of American Airlines, then you are responsible for hotel, meal, and other charges. An American Airlines agent can help you find a hotel."

Flight disruptions defined as being beyond the control of the airline include the following events:

  • meteorological or weather conditions;
  • civil unrest, including war, embargo or unsettled international conditions (real or threatening);
  • Act of terrorism;
  • public health emergencies of domestic or international concern;
  • labor disputes related to the services of the company or affecting them;
  • government regulations or requirements;
  • lack of manpower, fuel or funds;
  • any fact not reasonably foreseen or predicted by the airline.


JetBlue, in accordance with the airline's contract of carriage, will provide meal and hotel vouchers at the request of the passenger if "the journey is disrupted due to a controlled disruption and the flight is delayed by six hours or more."

The airline defines a "controlled disruption" as a flight delay, cancellation or diversion that is not caused by an event "outside the reasonable control of JetBlue".

Events beyond JetBlue's "reasonable control" include:

  • weather conditions or natural disasters;
  • riots, civil unrest, protests, embargoes, declarations of a pandemic or public health emergency, war, hostilities or unsettled international conditions;
  • strikes, work stoppages or slowdowns, lockouts or any other labor disputes;
  • war, embargo or other military action;
  • government regulation, directive or requirement;
  • lack of manpower, fuel, equipment;
  • other conditions or reasons beyond the control of the carrier, or any fact that the carrier cannot reasonably foresee.

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