UPDATED 2/17/2017 Travel troubles are common when you’re flying. Know your rights so you get the most money from the airline for your travel disruption.

Airline tarmac rules

In 2011 and 2012, new rules took effect that gave airline passengers more rights.

Passengers get so frustrated sitting on the tarmac for hours for unknown reasons. Airlines have to be careful how long they keep you on the tarmac.

If you are taking an international flight, the airline will face big fees if you sit on the tarmac for more than four hours. This will bring international flights in line with domestic flights which can’t sit on the tarmac for more than three hours without big penalties.

There was a lot of controversy with these rules, and some predicted it would lead to premature canceling of flights so airlines wouldn’t face the fees. Studies have shown that really hasn’t happened. I’ve been on a few flights stuck on the tarmac for short delays and every time they roll out the red carpet. The flight attendants hand out drinks and snacks trying to make your stay on the tarmac as comfortable as possible. The airlines don’t want to get fined because the penalty is steep and adds up because the fee is based on each passenger.

I’ve been on a few flights stuck on the tarmac for short delays and every time they roll out the red carpet. The flight attendants hand out drinks and snacks trying to make your stay on the tarmac as comfortable as possible. The airlines don’t want to get fined because the penalty is steep and adds up because the fee is based on each passenger.

Airlines enforcing carry-on baggage rules

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Free airfare refund

Airfares change constantly. Have you ever booked an airfare, and then found it cheaper? Or changed your mind? There’s a way to get a refund even if you purchased a non-refundable ticket.

Airlines don’t offer refunds much. Most tickets are non-refundable, or there are excessive change fees. Sometimes it’s cheaper to just purchase a new ticket than pay the change fees.

That’s why most travelers don’t realize they can get a refund if they change their mind about a trip, or find a cheaper price on a ticket. The rule took effect in 2012. Five years later, it’s rarely discussed.

There is one catch. You have to cancel the ticket within 24 hours of booking.

Canceling the flight is easy. Just call customer service. They don’t ask any questions.

24 hour airfare price lock

You can also hold an airline ticket and lock in the price for 24 hours. You can hold a reservation without a payment or even cancel a fare without penalty for 24 hours after you make the reservation.  This rule only applies if you book or hold the trip one week or more prior to your flight’s departure.

This rule only applies if you book or hold the trip one week or more prior to your flight’s departure.

Flight bumping on oversold planes

If you’re bumped off your flight, you’ll get more money.  You’ll get double the price of your ticket up to $650 if you are due to get into your destination just a few hours late because of an oversold flight. If the delay is longer, you’ll get up to four times your ticket or up to $1,300.

How to get the largest travel voucher when a flight is oversold

Ticket prices

Plus, you’ll see changes when you purchase an airline ticket. All ancillary fees must be disclosed.  Look for checked bag fees, cancellation fees, etc. clearly displayed on the airline’s site. This will be one of the most noticeable changes for consumers. The goal is to make it easier to comparison shop for an airline ticket.