It’s been another rough day for America’s airline passengers, to put it mildly.
As of 3 p.m. Eastern on Friday, more than 1,100 flights had been canceled in the U.S., with over 3,700 more delayed, according to FlightAware. Some of Friday’s issues could be a result of aircraft not being in a position to fly their first flights of the morning after cancelations Thursday.
American Airlines has the most cancelations so far, with around 200 flights cut, representing 6% of the carrier’s schedule for the day. However, those numbers do not include American Eagle flights operated by the airline’s regional affiliates.
The Federal Aviation Administration implemented delay programs at airports in the Northeast on Friday afternoon, and warned that air traffic restrictions could extend as far south as Florida before the end of the day. Airports in the West are also being affected by weather.
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Summer squeeze for aviation network
Earlier in the pandemic, airlines downsized as people stayed home. But with restrictions lifted, folks this summer are traveling like it’s 2019 again, and carriers say they don’t have enough people on their rosters to fly the schedules they planned.
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Experts say it could take as much as a year for things to normalize.
What you’re entitled to if your flight is canceled
If your flight is canceled and you choose not to travel on a new itinerary, the Department of Transportation requires your airline to give you a refund, even if you purchased a nonrefundable ticket.
In the event of a delay, the rules are a little fuzzier. The DOT says that passengers are entitled to compensation if a “significant” delay occurs, but the department has not yet defined what qualifies as significant.
Airline compensation: What you’re entitled to if your flight is canceled or delayed
That ultimately means, for now, it’s up to individual airlines to decide how and when to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed.
The DOT announced earlier this week that they are planning to clarify those rules, and make them more consumer-friendly. On Wednesday, the agency opened a portal for public comments on updates to their cancellation and delay compensation regulations.