What to do if your flight to or from CLT is delayed or cancelled?

Winter weather, COVID-related staff shortages and the usual flight tests have resulted in severely delayed and canceled flights across the country, including Charlotte.

If you’re stuck in the terminal or at home doubting whether you really should venture to the airport, you have options.

Here’s what to do if a wrench is thrown into your travel plans:

What to do if you are not yet at the airport?

Before calling a carpool or heading for extended parking, check the status of your flight to make sure it’s still on time. The easiest ways to do this are to use your airline’s app or website, or check the Charlotte airport website at cltairport.com/flights.

If you see a significant delay or cancellation, it’s often better to resolve the issue before heading to the airport to avoid getting stuck there.

You can get information about your options — including alternative flights, refunds and travel credits — through your airline’s app or website. If you prefer to speak to a real person, you can try your airline’s customer service. The numbers of each airline flying to Charlotte are listed at cltairport.com/airport-info/airlines.

What to do when you are at the airport?

If you’re already waiting at the gate when you get the news that your flight has been delayed or cancelled, talking with the gate agent can be productive. They may be able to provide more information about why the flight was changed, when a delayed flight will eventually depart, and what other flights are available.

You also have the option to use your airline’s app, website, or customer service to request assistance.

If you need a place to stay while you wait for a delayed flight or a new flight, your airline can cover the cost of a hotel room. However, under the policy of the Federal Ministry of Transport, airlines are not required to do this.

Charlotte Airport does not have its own hotel, but there are several hotels near the airport that offer shuttle transportation.

Can you get your money back if your flight is canceled or delayed?

If your flight is canceled and you choose not to be rebooked on a new flight, you are entitled to a refund of the ticket price and/or associated fees under the transportation department’s policy.

For delayed flights, the rules are less black and white.

“A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline has made a major schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel,” the DOT states.

However, the federal agency goes on to say that it has no definition of “what constitutes a “significant delay”” and that whether you should get a refund will be decided “on a case-by-case basis” based on “many factors — including the length of the delay, the length of the flight and your specific circumstances.”

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Mary Ramsey is a journalist at The Charlotte Observer. Born in the Carolinas, she studied journalism at the University of South Carolina and has also worked in Phoenix, Arizona and Louisville, Kentucky.

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