Irene Disrupts Travel With Thousands of Flights Canceled

Deadly Hurricane Irene rocked the East Coast this past weekend, causing flooding, power outages and of courseheavy travel delays. Those traveling to and from the East Coast are up against days of delays, with more than 13,416 flights canceled across the country through Monday, according to FlightAware, an airline tracking company. Airports in Boston and New York are preparing to begin departures Monday, as is Continental Airlines in Newark, N.J., after closures over the weekend. Washington, D.C. airports are also operating on a full schedule, with the exception of flights to and from New York City and Boston, FlightAware reported. Airlines are also avoiding giving passengers a timeline as to when their flights will be up and running once again, and passengers face an added obstacle in securing seats on available flights as this is the tail end of the summer travel season, according to the Associated Press.

Joe Apelian, owner of Blue Skies Travel Agency, Inc., in the Bronx, N.Y., said passenger rights are often varied depending on the conditions of a flights delay or cancellation. Weather conditions, like Irene, are out of an airlines control, and they wont be quick to compensate for such inconveniences.

Weather is an act of God, he said. Its not their fault, and they dont like to be held responsible.

Apelian said typically, airlines handle weather-forced cancellations by putting folks on the next available flight. Most tickets are nonrefundable; however, if a passenger cannot take the next available flight, a refund may be in order.

Not everybody is forceful, Apelian said. Sometimes they just go with the flow. Usually, with a little bargaining and a little screaming and yelling, they can get what they want.