Due to errors with the navigational and autopilot system, my flight from Shanghai to Chicago was delayed by over 5 hours. Nearly all passengers missed flights and received new boarding passes for connecting flights upon arrival.

In Chicago, United distributed vouchers for a night at a nearby hotel and two $10 vouchers for dinner and breakfast.

The next day I received an apologetic email from United Care offering a $100 discount for my next flight that I book with them. I have not yet accepted the offer. Am I entitled to higher compensation?

  • How much delay was in total (also connecting flight)?
    – N Randhawa
    Jan 3, 2019 at 0:54

1 Answer 1


Not really. There's limits to how much liability US airlines accept for mechanical failure (and they generally accept none for weather delays). A free hotel and meal is standard for anything like this. Most people people expect EU-style protections but the US doesn't have any

In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled. Compensation is required by U.S. law only when certain passengers are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold.

What you can try is calling their customer support line and explain the situation. Be sure to emphasize how much inconvenience they put you through. At this point, it's mostly a poker game. They're all but certain to offer you something right off the bat (i.e. $200 flight credit) but how much you can wring out of them after that depends a lot on how you play your cards. They want you to be a loyal and happy customer (especially one who flies international), but they don't want to lose more money on a flight that's already cost them more to operate than it should have.

  • Unless the OP has status with United, the odds of getting anything higher than the original offer ranged from very low to zero. The odds of getting something more over the phone (rather than email) are even lower. Yes, it's a poker game, but the airline holds all the cards.
    – Doc
    Jan 2, 2019 at 16:40
  • 1
    @Doc If it were a domestic flight I'd completely agree. But I could easily see a United rep saying something like Ok, we're sorry for that delay. Can I offer you $150 off a future flight instead? For the the CSR, it's easier to offer a little bit more than to try and argue. Overplay your cards and the CSR might make negative notes about you as a customer.
    – Machavity
    Jan 2, 2019 at 16:46

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