What are your rights if your flight is delayed?

NOW: What are your rights if your flight is delayed?

According to Flight Aware, Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 2,500 flights on Wednesday, sending more frustrated people desperately searching for another way home.

If you are one of the fliers who had to endure delays, lost luggage, or cancellations, what are your rights? Andrew Appelbaum, an attorney with Flyers Rights, says by law the airline owes you a refund if they cancelled your flight.

"This is called an involuntary refund," he said.

But since a major winter storm moved through the country last week, Southwest may try to blame some cancellations on weather, since the airline owes nothing if a flight is cancelled for weather.

Southwest's website does offer reimbursement for expenses, but Appelbaum says they are not bound by law to honor that promise.

"It can be extremely difficult to get money from the airlines whether it's a refund the airline legally owes you, or for reimbursements," he said.

If your luggage is lost, you are owed as much as $3,800 for a domestic flight. You have to prove what you lost, and some items are excluded depending on the airline. Appelbaum recommends keeping itemized lists of what you take with you on every flight. He also tells passengers to document what they spend on replacement clothes and toiletries.

"I would recommend passengers keep the receipts for purchases that they have to make," he said.

If your luggage is lost, then makes it to your destination, you can request that the airline deliver your luggage to the address of your choice free of charge.

Appelbaum says passengers should spare airline employees from their frustration, and instead call for institutional change.

"I would recommend passengers file complaints with the Department of Transportation, and they can also contact their member of Congress," Appelbaum said.

Flyers Rights advocates for a "Rule of Reciprocity" for US carriers, meaning that if a flight is delayed or cancelled, the carrier would have to book travel with a competing airline to get passengers to their destination.

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