Flight delayed, cancelled? The quickest ways to get on your way

PHOENIX - We've seen travel scenarios like this before.
    
Winter weather, hurricanes, even computer outages have caused gridlock at the nation's airports.
    
But what can you do if you find yourself stuck in one of these situations?

I've found some tips, letting you know what to do when your flight is unexpectedly delayed.

When delays happen, travel rules can change very quickly.
    
But there are a few things you can do to get on the next available flight.  

Technology is your friend.

According to farecompare.com , it's a good idea to call the airline's customer service number while you are waiting in line at the gate.

If you get someone on the phone first, great.
    
If you get to the gate agent first, even better.

You can also try to re-book your ticket online.

Many airports have free internet.

If you have a smart phone, go to your settings and hook up to public WiFi.

Depending on what kind of fare you originally bought, re-booking could have a fee.  

You have to decide whether the additional cost is worth it, or if you just want to wait it out.
            
That brings us to this nugget of wisdom: know your rights.

Get familiar with your airline's flight cancelation policy.

On the airline's website it's called the "contract of carriage" or "condition of carriage."
    
Make sure you understand it before you purchase your ticket.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says each airline makes up its own rules, concerning how they compensate delayed passengers.

There is no federal requirement.

Here are some links to major air carriers' cancelation and delayed flight policies.

AirTran

American Airlines

US Airways

Delta

Southwest

United

E-mail me if you need help with any consumer problem or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.


 
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