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Can I get money for my flight being canceled? Ask the lawyer

Q: We were scheduled to fly from LAX to New York, got to the airport and learned the flight was canceled. We were not able to get to New York on time for several events planned and were put on a much later flight. Can we get money back for what we lost?

F.W., Los Angeles

Ron Sokol

A: In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate when a flight is canceled or delayed. Compensation comes into play when certain passengers are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold. This is because airlines do not guarantee their schedules and difficulties can arise, from bad weather to air traffic issues to mechanical problems.

Note, though, that each airline has its own policies. If your flight experiences a long delay, you can ask airline staff if they will pay for meals and/or a hotel room. Some airlines offer these amenities; others, unfortunately, do not.

To be clear, the response here relates to domestic flights within the USA. Other airlines in other countries may well have different policies. Also, having travel insurance may be prudent.

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