Passenger rights to know before you board a plane

United Airlines
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, file photo, travelers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter at Terminal 1 in O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. After a man is dragged off a United Express flight on Sunday, April 9, 2017, United Airlines becomes the butt of jokes online and on late-night TV. Travel and public-relations experts say United has fumbled the situation from the start, but it’s impossible to know if the damage is temporary or lasting. Air travelers are drawn to the cheapest price no matter the name on the plane. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

CHARLESTON (WCBD) – After a public outcry due to the forcible removal of a passenger of a United Airlines flight, more travelers are saying they’re concerned and asking for tips before boarding.

Recordings of the event on social media show officers pulling a passenger from a flight Sunday after he refused to leave the plane.

If you find yourself in that situation, stay calm but know you have resources to help.

You should always take a look at the fine print of your ticket, where there’s relevant information for when you’re traveling.

In the event that you’re bumped, it’s best to ask your carrier if you can book availability on another flight, perhaps a different airline.

Carriers are allowed by law to ask you to take a different flight if they are overbooked.

In the United debacle, the passenger is receiving treatment and the airline has apologized in a statement, saying “no one should ever be mistreated this way.”

Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz apologized for “having to re-accommodate” customers.

But unknown to some passengers, each carrier is required to provide its own set of guidelines on flight delays, getting bumped and several other inconveniences.

The pilot is ultimately the one with the discretion over the aircraft if someone is removed willingly or unwillingly from a flight.  

Aviation attorney Brooks Davis cautions you should always carefully review your ticket — and any airline — has the right to refuse service to passengers.

“If they violate one of your rights or they do something improper, inappropriate it’s better to address that situation later in a court of law,” said Davis.

A resource to help you travel smoothly, or use as a reference — is the Department of Transportation’s passenger bill of rights, which is a government guide to air travel.

Here’s a link to the full guide:


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