Hurricane Sandy: your rights if your flights have been cancelled
If your flight has been cancelled or you've been left stranded by Hurricane Sandy, make sure you know what you're entitled to.
Our news feeds have been dominated with horrific scenes of Hurricane Sandy battering the east coast of America this week and as a result thousands of passengers have been left stranded or had their flights cancelled.
Thousands of flights have been cancelled because of the extreme weather conditions leaving many travellers stuck in the US, unable to get home, and many in the UK, unable to fly out.
According to the BBC so far 102 flights due to depart from the UK have been cancelled by six airlines, including British Airways, United and Virgin.
However, worldwide the number of cancelled flights is close to 6,000 as airlines cancel flights into to New York JFK, Newark, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Passengers due to fly between the US and UK have been told they can either book onto another flight, once a normal service resumes, or get a full refund.
The advice for passengers is to check directly with their airline before going to the airport to find out what the situation is with their flights. The Foreign Office website also has up-to-date information on the situation in the US.
Also known as ‘Frankenstorm’ the hurricane is one of the worst to ever hit the east coast and images look more like those resembling a disaster movie than real life.
On Monday it arrived on land and although it’s now lost the ‘hurricane’ status, it’s still causing havoc because of the strong winds it’s producing. These hurricane-strength winds caused a surge of seawater to hit New York which has flooded large areas of the city and left it without power.
Your rights if your flight is cancelled
This is up to the individual airline, but generally if a flight is cancelled you should be offered a refund or a rescheduled flight by your airline.
What you are covered for depends on how you booked the trip. If your holiday is covered by ATOL and is a package deal, the tour operator should cover all aspects of the trip, such as the flight and accommodation, for you.
However, where you may run into problems is if you’ve booked the trip independently. If this is the case the best thing to do is contact the company or companies you’ve booked through and cancel your bookings as soon as possible. Then it’s up to the company in question whether it will refund you some or all of the money you’ve already paid out or offer to rebook you for another time.
In this instance, also check with your travel insurance provider. Each will vary and the advice from the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), is that travellers need to check what they are and aren’t covered for and to stay in touch with their provider, as not all the policies are the same.
What to do if you’re stranded
For those affected by the knock-on effects of the hurricane, again check your travel insurance policy. If you’re delayed for more than 24 hours you should be able to claim for any costs on your insurance.
Passengers who are left stranded with cancelled or delayed flights do have rights set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
It says airlines are obliged to provide passengers with refreshments, including meals, accommodation if the delay is overnight, and access to communication. More information on the specifics can be found on the CAA website.
If you’re stranded abroad, and keep a check on everything you have to spend money on as well as any communication you have between the companies in question.
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