Q:

What can passengers expect from airlines when flights are delayed overnight?

A:

Quick Answer

Unfortunately, passengers traveling on flights ending up delayed overnight receive very few guarantees as airlines set their own policies regarding compensation for passengers; some offer free booking on next flights out while others give passengers some or all of their money back. Despite having few legal obligations for passengers on delayed night flights, some airlines offer some assistance anyways in attempts to retain customers. United Airlines, for instance, offers payment vouchers for food and beverages, along with discounts for travelers at nearby hotels.

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Full Answer

Among airlines offering conveniences to delayed travelers, food and beverage stipends rank among the most common. Airlines recommend passengers carry their own food and drinks in preparation for unforeseen circumstances, but may help offset the cost of travelers' dining expenses for delayed flights.

In addition to offering payment assistance for food and drinks, some airlines work with nearby hotels, offering price discounts or even free stays for stranded travelers. For example, United Airlines offers rate reductions and payment assistance for diverted and postponed flights, but the amount of compensation varies depending on length of flight delay time.

At a minimum, federal rules established by the United .States Department of Transportation require airlines delaying flights to reimburse travelers for some or all of their ticket expenses. This repayment includes fees associated with baggage, and applies to all tickets, even nonrefundable ones.

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