Beware of The Disadvantages of Taking Low Cost Flights
Allegiant Airlines Review
My daughter and her friends just returned from a short vacation to Las Vegas and after hearing about their unfortunate flight delay with Allegiant Airlines, it raised a number of questions regarding Airline Travel Policies and if it’s really worth taking one of those popular Low Cost Flights.
Each airline has their specific tariff or contract agreement with you!
Air Travel Policies Differ With Each Airline
We have been incredibly lucky over the years with air travel, having only delayed a few times due to weather or other issues. The majority of our flights taken over the years have been with major carriers and not with low cost airlines. I’ve always being able to find cheap flights with my favorite carriers with some thorough searching and by subscribing to their email newsletters.
But as we all know, travel does come with unexpected interruptions and the more we are aware of this possibility, the easier they are to deal with when they actually do happen.
Flight Delays With Low Cost Air Travel
Flight delays certainly are frustrating, particularly if you are traveling on your long awaited vacation. So after my daughters delay at the airport of more than 11 hours with the eventual cancellation of her flight afterwards, it got me thinking as to what exactly a person is entitled to when a delay is the cause of the carrier?
After some searching and reading a few of the other airlines ticket agreements, it definitely depends on which airline you happen to be flying with and the specific reasons for the delay.
Cheap Flights With Allegiant And Their Contract of Carriage
As mentioned above, each airline has what is known as a “Contract of Carriage.” This contract must be shown on the airlines website. As with any contract that you enter into, it is strongly advised to read it and double check your chosen airlines flight delay policies.
Let’s take Allegiant as an example because this is the airline my daughter was delayed a full day and night due to mechanical failure. Below, I have included a copy of their “Failure to Operate as Scheduled” portion of their contract agreement with you.
As you can see, nowhere in this contract that I can see, is there a mention of any compensation for cancelled flights or any other delay that are within the airlines control. This meaning; mechanical issues, crew delays or any other delays in which the airline control.
When you choose to fly with a low cost airline and with those who also have no partner airlines associated with them, you basically are left out in the cold and at the mercy of that airline.
Air Canada’s Air Travel Policies
Below is an example of what Air Canada will do for you in the event of a Flight Cancellation that was within their control. As you can see, there is a significant difference when choosing a major airline and especially one with associated with partner airlines. Air Canada states that they will offer meal vouchers, hotel, ground transportation and even an amenity kit if needed.
Even with a delay of 2 hours or more under their control, you can obtain a voucher for a meal at an airport restaurant or Air Canada Café service!
If you are going to travel a with a low cost budget airline, then I strongly urge you to purchase Cancellation/ Delay Travel Insurance. Be sure to check with a reputable Travel Agent who can outline exactly what you will be covered for and what you will not.
The U.S. Department of Transportation state that a number of airlines, especially the low-cost budget airlines usually will not provide amenities to stranded passengers. They go on to say, it never hurts to ask the customer service agent for that airline at the airport anyway.
Review Airline Policies Before Travel Especially With Cheap Air Tickets
There is no legislation or Specific Rule in Canada that governs airlines or travel companies where they legally have to do anything for you if a flight is delayed. The majority of major airlines are doing this as a courtesy to their customers and of course, for good business!
To avoid disappointment, Expedia encourages customers to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions imposed by the airlines before they book.
In the case of my daughters delayed flight due to mechanical issues, had she chosen a non -budget airline and paid a few extra dollars for her flight, she certainly would not have had to sit at the airport for over 11 hours before being told the flight was cancelled until the next day sometime.
She would have had the right to change her flight, perhaps even the opportunity to get on with one of their partner airlines, receive meal vouchers and so on. 🙁
To add insult to injury, they had to pay for their taxi fare, where they were sent to a smoke filled budget motel for a few hours while waiting for a flight the next day. They are still waiting to be reimbursed for their taxi fare to and from the airport and were given no meal vouchers during their delay. They have tried calling the airlines customer service on numerous occasions, but always receive this message on the phone.
“We are currently experiencing high call volume and can’t take any more calls. Please try phoning back later.”
I don’t think any major airline is going to ask you to call back later! 🙂 Always review your carrier’s tariff for its policy regarding delays, cancellations and schedule changes. You can learn more about your flight rights on the Transport Canada website.
U.S. and most other major airlines offer similar compensation for cancelled or delayed flights.
So the moral of the story is, before you book, read the fine print in any contract! The old saying goes is that you usually always get what you pay for!
Also, if a delay does occur, try to be patient with staff and approach them in a calm and friendly manner to request hotel or meal vouchers if the delay is long enough. They only work for the airline, they don’t actually own it, unless of course you’re a Westjet employee in Canada! 🙂
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