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What to Do if Your Flight is Canceled

After mass cancelations from airlines in October and November left passengers scrambling for hotel rooms and new flights, the holiday season promises to be busy.

Before you board, NBC 5 Responds shows you what you’re entitled to and what you should do if you’re stranded by a long delay or canceled flight.

‘I’ve Got to Go to Work; I Don’t Have a Hotel Anymore

Heading home from a weekend in Antelope Canyon, Sandra Simmons’ Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Dallas was canceled on a Sunday evening.

“I already got the message that I was rebooked on the next flight in the morning, 9:25 going through Colorado Springs and then Dallas,” said Simmons.

Simmons was due at work Monday morning and wanted to know if there were other options.

“Is there any other possibility? I’ve got to go to work. I don’t have a hotel anymore. What do we do?” Simmons recalled asking an employee.

Simmons said the employee responded, “No, I don’t know. That’s all I can do.”

What Department of Transportation Rules Say

According to Department of Transportation rules, if your flight is canceled, the passenger is entitled to a cash refund for the unused travel and extras like bag fees.

Keep in mind, a refund may not cover the cost of last-minute airfare on another airline.

If you’re stuck overnight, the airlines aren’t required by DOT rules to cover meals, transportation, or hotel rooms.

“There are no U.S. regulations that will require the airlines to provide you with overnight accommodation if your flight is canceled or you’re delayed over overnight,” explained Charlie Leocha, president and co-founder of Travelers United.

Leocha is calling for rules similar to those in the European Union – where airlines must compensate passengers for many major disruptions.

“It can be done, it has been done and it will not set the airlines into bankruptcy,” said Leocha.

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