Common Travel Policy Questions Answered by Lawyer With Huge Social Following for Explaining the “Fine Print”

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Traveling can be an uplifting and rewarding experience... but it can also be extremely stressful. That’s why lawyer Erika Kullberg (Instagram: @erikankullberg) — who gives her combined 19 million social media followers tips on travel and personal finance — is here to answer the most common travel policy questions. 

As seen in her viral videos, Erika reads and explains companies’ terms-and-conditions agreements to make sure you know your rights when it comes to airline travel. As a result, you can save precious time and money just by following her advice. 

In other words, Erika reads the fine print so you don’t have to! 

Here are her answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions about travel: 

1. If an airline cancels my flight, what rights do I have as far as refunds or vouchers? 

“If an airline cancels your flight, and you decide not to travel for whatever reason, you are always entitled to a full refund. Not a voucher, [but] a full cash refund in whatever form your payment was,” Erika says.  

Here, she explains what to do if the flight was nonrefundable. 

2. What rights do I have when it comes to lost or delayed luggage? 

“The Department of Transportation (DOT) says that airlines are responsible for up to $3800 for lost luggage [on domestic flights]. Let’s say your bag is delayed. Because your bag is delayed, you don’t have access to things you need. So you need to go buy clothes for your interview the next day, and toiletries, and maybe some makeup. It’s the airline’s responsibility to reimburse you for that. Save receipts, and go through that airline’s process for reimbursement,” she says. 

Erika also shares tips on what to do if your bag is determined to be lost. 

3. If my flight gets delayed and I need a hotel room, can I get that cost covered? 

“Most likely yes, as long as the reason for the delay is within the airline’s control – for example, a mechanical issue, or a staffing shortage. Uncontrollable would be something like weather. If it is controllable, most airlines will provide a hotel. Many will also provide ground transportation to and from that hotel,” she explains. 

But did you know that some credit cards offer free hotel rooms in scenarios like these? 

4. If I book a flight and then later on there is a price reduction, can I get any money back? 

“In most cases, no. The only workaround is when you book a flight, there is a rule that you can cancel with no penalty within 24 hours, if it’s at least 7 days before the departure. So if you purchase a flight, and see that within 24 hours the price goes down, you want to cancel the flight, and buy the new, cheaper flight,” she says. 

Erika also dishes on how likely this situation is.  

5. What happens if I get bumped from a flight? Should I seek compensation? 

“Yes, you absolutely should. The DOT says that if you’re bumped from a [domestic] flight because the flight is overbooked, you are entitled to compensation. The airline will get you on the next available flight, and the amount of compensation depends on how delayed your arrival time is from there.  For a 0-1 hour delay, there’s no compensation, but it’s rare that flights are that close in time. If it’s 1-2 hours, you should receive 200% of your one-way fare. If it’s over 2 hours, then you’re entitled to 400% of your one-way fare. So, if your fare was $250, you should be getting $1,000 in cash,” she says.  

Here, she explains how to handle this situation on an international flight. 

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