Consumer Watchdog

Know your rights to a refund if your holiday flight is canceled

This week's nasty winter storm could wreak havoc on airline schedules.

More than 7 million people are expected to fly between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. But as a nasty winter storm hits major swaths of the country, airline travel could become challenging for many. Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day this week, with 47,554 scheduled flights, according to Federal Aviation Administration forecasts. More than 44,300 flights are scheduled for Friday.

Thousands of those flights could be canceled or delayed as the storm brings ice, snow, high winds and true blizzard conditions to many states with airline hubs.

Federal law requires airlines to issue refunds to customers when the airline cancels a flight, regardless of the reason. Many airlines, however, will push credits or vouchers instead. Passengers should know their rights if their flight is canceled.

And if they choose to accept a credit or voucher, it’s important to understand how they work at each of the 10 largest domestic airlines.

See our advice on steps to take if your airline is balking at issuing a refund.

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