When Thomas Cook shuttered in Sept. 23, the British travel provider left 600,000 travelers around the world without flights home. When WOW Air closed March 28, the low-cost carrier stranded thousands of passengers across Europe and North America. While any kind of flight cancellation is inconvenient, it doesn’t have to be as soul-crushing as these cases.
National Geographic offers potential options for carrying on, getting home, or getting a refund.
Look for Rescue Fares
Rescue fares are limited-time, reduced-rate fares offered specifically to the abandoned passengers of closed airlines. The British government is helping passengers in the aftermath of Thomas Cook closing, while many airlines stepped in to help passengers without flights when Iceland-based WOW shuttered.
Use Airline Mileage Awards
If you are holding on to unused miles, National Geographic suggests that this might be a good time to use them.
Capitalize on Your Credit Card
- If you have yet to pay the credit card bill with the airline purchase on it, you can file a dispute with the card issuer and place the charge on hold until the dispute is settled.
- If you have paid the bill, ask your credit card company for a chargeback—a refund from the card company instead of the airline. Chargebacks sometimes can be difficult to secure, but give it a go.
Investigate Your Insurance
- Often travel insurance policies will provide coverage when an airline or other travel supplier ceases operations, according to National Geographic. Double check your policy and its terms.
- Your credit card company, if you bought the ticket with your card, may offer a trip interruption or cancellation protection. Check to see.
Consider an EU Claim
If you flew to, from, or within the European Union, the union’s Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 might come in handy. It requires airlines to compensate passengers for delays lasting more than three hours, cancellations, and denied boarding due to overbooking. National Geographic warns that this type of claim takes a long time to process, so don’t expect to be on your way during the current trip.
Read the full story at National Geographic online.
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This story was updated on Sept. 23, 2019.