WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS? Do you know what you are entitled to, if anything, if your flight is delayed or cancelled? *AFP Photo
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS? Do you know what you are entitled to, if anything, if your flight is delayed or cancelled? *AFP Photo
Whether going on a weekend trip or a long holiday, if you are travelling by air, which is how most of us in Bermuda get off the island, flying is not without its challenges.

By now we are all used to travelling with long lines, security checks, additional baggage charges, food charges (if there is food available), insufficient legroom, narrow aisles, noisy children, and the lot.

We are familiar with what we can and cannot carry on the plane and we expect to get half undressed in order to get through the security checks. Anyone who travels frequently will agree that air travel can be exhausting and sometimes a real hassle.

However, while frequent travellers expect the aggravation associated with air travel, most people are not all that familiar with all of the terms and conditions associated with booking a flight and your compensation (if any) for delays and cancellations.

Booking Flights
When booking your flights, whether online or through a travel agent, be sure to carefully review all of the additional costs and extra charges, including taxes, airport charges, baggage fees (extra bags, overweight charges and oversize charges), charges for AV and sports equipment, ticketing charges, extra space charges, credit and debit card processing fees, seat selection fees, travel insurance and, especially, any costs associated with changes or cancellation.

Check all of this before you confirm your ticket. Sometimes that cheap ticket turns out to be not so cheap by the time you add on all of the additional charges.

Also, be sure to determine what additional charges are optional and be sure to check what travel documents are required for your destination.

Make sure that your passport has not expired and will not expire while you are travelling.

Many countries require at least six months passport validity from the date of return. Before you do book your itinerary, it is important that you double check all of the information — including the dates, times, destination airport and the total cost after additional charges.

Flight cancellation and delays
If your flight is cancelled, it is customary for the airlines to offer you the choice of a replacement flight at the earliest opportunity, or reimbursement of the ticket price.

If your flight is delayed for an extended period of time or your replacement flight is the following day, some airlines will provide free telephone calls, meals, accommodations and transfers, if necessary. If you were given adequate notice about a cancellation or delay or this was a result of weather or circumstances that could not be avoided, you may not be eligible for any compensation at all.

Before you book your travel, visit the airline’s website and carefully review all of the terms and conditions and FAQs.

Most airlines have customer service plans posted on their website and you can simply call your airline to discuss any concerns you may have.

EU regulation has been put in place to ensure that there are common rules around compensation for passengers who have been affected by cancellations or other flight disruption.

This information can be found on the Internet. At Consumer Affairs, we offer guidance to consumers, businesses and other organizations.

If we receive a complaint and believe that a violation of the law has occurred, we present the complaint to the business and request its assistance in resolving the problem.

Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, www.ca.gov.bm and read the relevant advice.

If you are unable to find the information you require on our website, please email us at consumers@gov.bm.