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Know the Laws Around Canceled Flights
Even if your flight was delayed for three hours, the U.S. government doesn't require airlines to pay a penalty fee or to compensate you for "damages" (e.g., a nonrefundable hotel charge). However, you may be entitled to a refund on your ticket. There's also been a long-standing rule that airlines are required to provide "denied boarding compensation" to passengers bumped from an oversold flight, and the Department of Transportation says that the Obama administration recently increased the amount of money we might be eligible for (up to $650 for short delays; up to $1,300 for longer ones). More good news: In the case of a canceled flight out of an E.U. airport, you'll be able to take advantage of passenger-friendly European laws that may entitle you to a hotel stay, meals and a compensation fee—even if you're an American citizen flying a non-E.U. airline. Check with the airline representative as soon as you hear that your flight won't be taking off.