More than 20,000 flights were disrupted during Easter weekend last year. And the nearly 6,000 passengers who traveled to the EU between the Thursday before Easter and Easter Monday were likely entitled to compensation due to flight disruptions.
During the 2018 Easter travel season, Friday, March 30 saw the largest airport crowds – unsurprising as it fell directly before the holiday weekend. Overall, more than 20,000 flights experienced disruptions, and these were the top 10 most disrupted routes during that weekend:
1. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
2. New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
4. Boston Edward L. Logan International Airport (BOS) to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
5. Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
6. Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
7. San Jose Norman Y. Mineta International Airport (SJC) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
8. Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
9. West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
“Flight disruptions affect a lot of people during holiday weekends like Easter, and unfortunately, since 92% of U.S. passengers don’t understand their rights, airlines take advantage of uninformed travelers,” said Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, a resource for passengers who may get stuck at the airport. “We urge passengers to read up on their rights for disruptions, luggage issues, and overbooked flights to ensure that they are not missing out on compensation they may be legally entitled to claim if they experience disruptions while traveling.”
If travelers experience a lengthy delay, are denied boarding, or have their flight cancelled when flying to the EU on an EU airline or out of the EU, they may be entitled to up to $700 in compensation from the airline, and can file a claim for up to three years. For domestic flights, travelers are eligible to claim up to $1,350 if they are bumped from their flight due to overbooking.
On top of compensation, the carrier also must provide passengers with meals and refreshments during the delay, as well as access to communications, including telephone calls, fax messages, and emails. If the passenger is forced to stay overnight due to the delay, the flight company also should pay for the hotel, and transport to and from the airport. With a busy travel weekend ahead, travelers must be aware of their rights in case of disruptions.
Insider tips for travel during holiday weekend
• Think about selecting an off-peak travel day when booking flights. Traveling to and from your destination on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 or Tuesday, April 23, 2019 can help you avoid large crowds at the airport, potentially reducing wait times in line for security, helping fliers to cost savings due to cheaper ticket fares, and reducing the likelihood of flight disruptions.
• Consider looking into several neighboring airports when booking flights, as some smaller airports may have cheaper ticket fares and better ratings for on-time performance. Many large U.S. cities have more than one major airport within several miles. Booking flights out of less popular airports may save passengers time and money while traveling.
• Know your rights for flight disruptions, as you could be eligible to claim compensation. If you are flying within the U.S. and you are denied boarding due to an overbooked flight, you may be eligible to claim 400% of the one-way fare to your destination in compensation, of a value up to $1,350. Also, for flight cancellations or lengthy delays, if you’re flying to the EU on an EU airline, or departing from an EU airport, you may be eligible to claim up to $700 per person in compensation under European law EC 261.
• If you experience a flight delay when flying out of or within the EU, keep your boarding pass and all of your receipts in case the delay causes you to spend extra money. If your delay causes you to miss out on a prepaid reservation or incur unanticipated costs, you may be able to claim reimbursement.
• Leave extra time for traveling to and from the airport. Since many people are traveling to see family and friends, anticipate traffic near the airport. Schedule extra time for driving, and be sure to leave ample time to get through lines at security.