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I had a flight from New-York to Tel-Aviv with a layover in Madrid on Sunday 9pm (EST). I booked my tickets through Iberia, but the flight between TLV and Madrid were operated by ElAl. Due to a technical issue with one of the engines, the flight was cancelled. We (the passengers) waited in the plane for a couple hours before the airline made the decision to reschedule the flight.

I was put on a direct flight with ElAl at no additional cost the next day Monday 7pm (EST). I have been looking on Iberia's website what were my rights but I have not been able to find the information (which might be difficult to find on purpose?).

What are my rights? The strict minimum is for me to get reimbursed for all my expenses for that extra 20 hours in NY (taxis/uber, food; I was staying at a friends so there were no hotels fees). Can I get compensated further? I don't think the EU regulations apply for this flight. If anyone had a similar experience, I'd appreciate the help.

  • Do not know the legality but all that I tried failed when I wanted to be reimbursed for incidental costs due to an unexpected stay in New York, including a hotel, taxi and shuttle between airports. – Itai Jun 27 '17 at 14:56
  • @Itai Can I ask when was this and with which airline? – solalito Jun 27 '17 at 14:59
  • This February, all flights with American Airlines. – Itai Jun 27 '17 at 15:00
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    I would advise you to read this thread on flyertalk, providing your New York to Madrid flight was due to be operated by Iberia. flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/… – Berwyn Jun 27 '17 at 15:30
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Since the canceled flight was to be operated by Iberia, an EU airline, the EU air passenger rights apply to you. Independent of monetary compensation for arriving late at your final destination (it is not clear from your description how late you were), the airline is obliged to offer hotel accommodation where necessary, as well as meals and refreshments "in a reasonable relation to the waiting time".

Whether you actually have a grievance probably depends on exactly what went down.

In general you can be expected to ask the airline representatives explicitly for this assistance. If you did so, and they refused you, then you probably have a claim (though you may need to enlist professional legal help to cash in on it).

If you just left the airport on your own after getting rescheduled without asking the airline to accommodate you, then that's probably on you. Airlines are not expected to manhandle passengers who decide they would rather do something else with their time than sit around in the airport and spend meal vouchers at airport restaurants -- after all, when a departing passenger is delayed for a day they will often prefer to go home and sleep in their own beds, and the airline cannot be expected to keep track of which of their passengers have that option.

Similarly, if you inquired about which help you would be offered by the airline, and the thing on offer complied with the EU requirements but you decided you would rather make your own arrangement, then that's on yourself too.

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Under US law: you don't have any rights. Well, you had the right to cancel your ticket and receive a refund when the original flight was cancelled, but that wasn't what you wanted. But US law doesn't require airlines to offer any compensation at all for flight cancellation or delay, regardless of the cause.

It's possible that you have other rights under Israeli law, or that EU law somehow applies. I don't know, so I hope someone else can add an answer addressing those points.

As far as US law goes, the best you can do is contact the airline (Iberia) and let them know you are unhappy, and hope they will offer you some compensation out of the goodness of their hearts / "good customer service". If you do get any, it might not be cash: they might offer you a voucher toward a future flight, or airline miles / points instead.

Generally, in the US, if you want to be compensated for delays and cancellations like this, you have to buy travel insurance.

  • So if I had to book a room at a nearby hotel, the company is not obligated to compensate me for that? That seems unfair... – solalito Jun 27 '17 at 14:52
  • @solalito: That is correct. Many airlines will compensate you in that case, but they're not required to. If you don't like it, write to your lawmakers. – Nate Eldredge Jun 27 '17 at 14:59
  • @solalito If it's an EU airline, it doesn't matter what the US law is, you have a right to claim for your accommodation and subsistence under EU law and depending on the reason for the delay, may be able to claim compensation as well. – Berwyn Jun 27 '17 at 16:13

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