Air Passenger Rights: Know the Rules to deal the Odds

Aug 24


Austin Moore

Austin Moore

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Travel is always associated with uncertainties and air travel also comes under this orbit. Knowing the rights as an air passenger thus becomes important for flyers as it saves them from being deceived by the airline.


Traveling requires a lot of planning,Air Passenger Rights: Know the Rules to deal the Odds Articles especially if you are going to take a long waited holiday. While the avid travelers are well aware of the uncertainties associated with travel, many first timers or those who travel less, become easily nervous when things go unplanned while traveling. Uncertainties in travel is very common and air travel is certainly not an exception to this. From weather delays, flight cancelations, bumping to baggage lost, anything can ruin your travel plan at any moment and the best you can do is to expect the unexpected and stay prepared for the worst. An informed air passenger, who is well-aware of the rights, however, stand a higher chance of saving their trips from becoming the most disastrous one.

To make the rights understandable for the general flyers, we have list out some of the common regulations. Just read on to learn what rights you have and what restrictions you face whenever taking a flight journey.


If you have a confirmed reservation with an airline, though there is no record of your reservation in the airline’s computer system, no agent or airline staff can deny you boarding the flight. On the other hand, in case of a round trip or multicity ticket, the airline reserves the right to cancel any continuous or return reservations if the passenger don’t show up or fail to cancel the ticket. In such a case, the passenger is considered a no-show.


Refund policies greatly vary from carrier to carrier and country to country. It also varies from one ticket class to the other. However, in general, if a passenger cancels a non-refundable ticket, they don’t get any refunds except some taxes like that of airport tax. While this is almost always true, there lies exceptions too, such as in case of passenger’s serious illness or death of the passenger. On the other hand, if the airline cancels the flight, they offer two options to the passenger, who can either rebook another flight with the same airline without paying the heavy change fee or can take the full refund of the airfare if they don’t wish to fly anymore. The airlines can however levy some administrative fee and other charges while processing the refund. Even in case of exceptions also, like passenger’s death, the ticket terms & conditions will ultimately prevail.

Check-In Times

Reaching the airport or checking in for your flight on time doesn’t guarantee that you would be boarding the flight, if you fail to reach the departure gate within the mentioned time. The airline reserves the right to cancel the reservation of the passenger and may also give their seat to another person if the passenger doesn’t show up at the departure gate on time. Also, if the passenger fails to check in the luggage on time for it to be loaded in the flight, the airline cannot be held responsible for the luggage being delivered late to the final destination. To avoid any such journey mishaps, the passengers should at least reach the airport 2 hours prior to the actual departure time.

Valid Proof of Identity

No matter whether you are flying domestically or internationally, you need to have a valid government photo id proof and need to show the same upon check-in and at boarding. In case of any passenger fail to show an id, the airline reserves the right to deny boarding of that particular passenger. Also remember that, the name on your id should match with the name on your ticket or the airline would not consider it a valid id proof. Also, if you are flying with a minor or a child, carry their government id proof to avoid any inconvenience at the airport.

Overbooking & Bumping

In airline industry, the government allows the airline to sell more seats for a flight than the actual capacity and this is to account for the no-shows. But at times, airline’s speculations go wrong and too many people turn up to board the flight. In such a case, the airline asks the travelers to voluntarily give up their seats and as a return the airline offers them another airline along with giving them some rewards like vouchers for future travel, hotel stay or at times cash. On the other hand, airlines at times involuntarily bumps passengers. If you are involuntarily bumped, airlines must explain your rites in writing and also must explain on which ground it decided who does and doesn’t get to stay on an oversold flight. In such a case, if you make your own arrangements for the journey, you can apply for involuntary refund and are also eligible for compensation for the inconvenience caused to you.

Delayed, Lost or Damaged Luggage

Many a time airlines delay to deliver the luggage of the passenger, which causes a lot of inconveniences. However, if you find that your luggage hasn’t shown up with your flight, immediately file a claim with your airline. Generally, the airlines agree to pay reasonable compensation until the luggage is handed over to the passenger. However, the compensation amount depends on negotiation and one may need to haggle to find a right compensation. Alternatively, if the airline fails to provide your luggage, you should file a second claim. It takes around six to twelve weeks for the reimbursement. Within the US, a liability limit of $3,400 applies to the airline if they lost the luggage of the passenger. However, this limit may vary for international flight, which are governed by an international treaty called the Montreal Conventions. Along with all these rights, one must also remember that the airline cannot be held responsible for delayed or lost baggage, if the passenger misses the check-in deadline at the departure airport.

While most people prefer air journey for it offers convenience and also saves time, many people also face hardship due to several unpredicted travel mishaps. However, being an informed traveler, one can certainly overcome some of the associated hassles and also can save themselves from being cheated by the airline.