Flying is not for the fainthearted in the time of COVID.
Staff shortages due to the Omicron variant coupled with bad winter weather has led to thousands of flights being delayed and canceled since the holiday season in December.
Last month, delays stranded hundreds of JetBlue fliers at New York’s JFK Airport.
So what’s a savvy traveler to do?
“Money Lawyer Erika” Kullberg is on the case. The former corporate lawyer has shared her fine-print insights with her 7.7 million followers on TikTok. Consumers have rights when flights and baggage are delayed.
Below are three of Kullberg’s hacks when things go awry at the airport.
Earn $1K or more for being bumped off a flight
Being grounded never sounded good. Kullberg discovered that when a passenger is bumped from a flight and their travel is delayed for more than two hours, they are entitled to four times the amount they had paid for a one-way ticket. She uses the example of a $250 one-way ticket yielding $1,000 through the “involuntary denied boarding” hack, but pricier tickets will pay out even more.
Delta will reimburse up to $3,800 in baggage delays
The lifehacking legal expert found that Delta’s terms cover nearly $4,000 for delayed bags — and aggrieved flyers should take advantage.
“Because my bag is delayed, I now need to go buy new shoes from Nike, clothes from Nordstrom, and skin care from Sephora to tide me over until my bag arrives. That’ll probably cost closer to $1,000,” Kullberg offers as a script when contacting the airline. Delta will likely agree, but inconvenienced travelers should prepare to save and produce their receipts for reimbursement approvals.
Kullberg also called out Delta for the “suspicious” removal of a link to this policy that she had shared on Instagram.
Get a free hotel from American Airlines
Kullberg figured out that American Airlines will pay for a passenger’s hotel if a flight is delayed past 11:59 p.m. — but only the airline (and not the airport) is responsible for the hold up.
Flyers can then rebook to board a plane that leaves the following morning, after some complimentary beauty sleep.