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Know what the rules are abroad

In case you are traveling from Canada or Europe on a U.S. carrier, the distinct possibility exists that the airline’s staff won’t be aware that you have more rights there than you do here. You’ll find the European Commission’s rules at its Air Transport Portal, and Flight Rights Canada on the Transport Canada website. Canada introduced Flight Rights Canada in September, and Europe has had a formalized set of passenger rights since 2005. The good news is, you’re covered if you’re flying out of either place (even on U.S. carriers) or into Canada, though not into Europe. At Canadian airports, for example, airlines must announce schedule changes, give meal vouchers for delays of more than four hours, and hotel accommodations for those of more than eight hours. Passengers now must be given the option to disembark if they’ve been stuck on the tarmac for more than 90 minutes. The European Commission’s rules specify that delays or cancellations that prevent you from completing your trip entitle you to a refund of the unused portions within seven days, even on nonrefundable tickets. Hotel accommodations and meals must be provided for delays of 24 hours or more.

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