Consumer Reports ShopSmart says before you head out, you need to know about your rights or lack of them.
ShopSmart says unfortunately, travelers are not owed a whole lot when they run into delays.
Consumer Reports Tobie Stanger says "Basically, there's no federal regulation that requires airlines to compensate passengers if they've been delayed, or had a flight cancellation. SO it's up to the airlines to decide what, if anything, they want to do."
Stanger says if your flight is canceled because of bad weather, that's considered a "force majeure." All an airline is likely to do is get you a seat on the next available flight.
However, if there's a delay due to mechanical reasons you can request a meal voucher or calling card to make long distance-calls. But whether you get it is at the airline's discretion.
When it comes to lost or damaged luggage you're entitled to a maximum reimbursement of three thousand dollars per passenger.
But a caution, among checked items not covered include, cameras, laptops, jewelry and cash. Always carry these items onboard.
And Consumer Reports points out delay and luggage policies do vary, so before you travel, be sure to check your airline's "Contract of Carriage."