NewsCovering Colorado


Amid busy air travel season, know your passenger rights

Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 20:19:53-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — With heavy snowstorms canceling hundreds of flights across Colorado's airports this week, the risk of holiday travel is being felt by Americans from coast-to-coast.

David Dagg was one of those stranded passengers at the Colorado Springs Airport, before finding travel back to school.

"I'm running off very little sleep as it is, and then trying to sleep in an airport isn't ideal," Dagg said. "At the moment, a lot of the roads are closed and a lot of the bus routes aren't running, so we're trying to figure out another way to get back to Boulder."

The aforementioned risk is why a Denver company just released air passenger rights guides for the nation's top 10 airlines, so customers can know and easily find their options in a one-stop shop throughout the process, from purchase to luggage pickup.

Otto Hanson, CEO of TermScout, told News 5 his team of lawyers analyzed the contracts from the top airlines, then added in feedback from hundreds of frequent passengers.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, each airliner was provided a score. Alaskan Airlines received the highest score of a 7.5, followed by Southwest Airlines at 6.8. Allegiant Airlines scored the lowest: 3.0.

The report, including downloadable passenger guides for each of the rated airlines, can be read here.

"When something goes wrong on a flight, it's canceled, a bag is lost, we have rights. And those rights are set forth in the contract that we sign when we book a ticket with an airline," Hanson said.

Looking at Colorado Springs Airport, the scores are mixed for the main airlines. Delta and United lead the way with scores just under six.

Hanson told News 5 there are also strong discrepancies among the airlines on what they offer when things go wrong, like lost luggage. United, for example, will pay customers $1,500, no questions asked, if their luggage has been lost for at least three days.

Other airlines aren't that considerate, Hanson said.

"What most airlines say is you have to prove your loss to us. 'We want to see receipts of what was in your bag, and we may even depreciate the value of the items before we reimburse you for what we lost," Hanson said.

That's why he's stressing the importance of checking the contracts as soon as possible, like when you're shopping around for flights, to gain a full understanding of what you're buying into.