What's The Deal: What to do if your flight is canceled

We all know what canceled flights look like: crowded terminals and passengers, sleeping on the floor. But do you know what to do if your holiday plans are grounded?

Our friends at MoneyTalksNews share some steps you need to know.

First, before you fly, get the airline's app and sign up for flight alerts: the sooner you learn of a problem, the better.

Another useful tool? AirHelp.

The passenger's rights website allows you to check if you're eligible to receive compensation for a delay or cancelation.

If you are, they'll even help file a claim on your behalf.

Next, as soon as you learn your flight is canceled, hit two lines: the one at the customer service counter, and your phone line: call their 800 number.

Your goal is to get re-booked on your current carrier or maybe another one.

Now, airlines aren't required to book you on another airline. But some will, if you ask.

And when you're doing this, be as flexible as you can.

Try other airports close to where you are and other airports where you're going.

A last resort is a refund.

Then there's alternate transportation.

Check Amtrak, buses, even rental cars.

Before you head for the rental car counter, be sure and ask about fees for dropping off in distant cities, or additional mileage charges.

Next, be aware if your flight is canceled due to weather or something else beyond the airline's control, they're not required to pay for your hotel, your meal, or other expenses.

But it never hurts to ask, since the airline will usually give out vouchers if they're authorized to.

Also, in the event of a mechanical delay, the airline will typically cover meal, transportation, and lodging costs... just check for specifics in your contract.

Another tip?

Make sure to check for any built-in travel benefits from your credit card issuer-- if you booked with your card.

Finally, if you're traveling overseas... be sure to familiarize yourself with their regulations.

For example, in Europe you may be entitled to compensation if you land more than three hours after your original arrival time.

Experts also say you should keep all travel documents, like boarding passes, if you're making a claim.

And one more tip?

Turn to social media.

Most airlines have a team on Twitter and Facebook, ready to help passengers when they don't want to wait on hold.
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