Are flight passengers entitled to hotel, meals?


Exemptions outlined under a contract each passenger agrees to when purchasing a ticket limits the rights of most passengers. However, those on board the crashed plane are covered under an international treaty known as the "Montreal Convention."

Passengers onboard Flight 214 can get compensated for their damages up to $150,000 without having to prove who was at fault. However, those who were more seriously hurt or those who have family members who were killed can sue for an unlimited amount if they prove liability on the part of the airline.

"You will receive $150,000 if you can prove damages of that amount. It's past the $150,000 that you need to show negligence," said attorney Adam Anolik from the Anolik Law Group.

What about thousands of passengers on other airlines whose flights were delayed or canceled? Anolik says domestic airlines generally will not pay for hotels and meals.

"Airlines should really take more responsibility for their passengers. Airlines have been putting more and more on the passengers and taking less and less responsibility for themselves," said Anolik.

Domestic airlines are governed by a contract of carriage -- the contract they have with you. Most say they will not cover your expenses when a delay was not their fault. International airlines claim a similar exemption.

"Ground control has ordered all the planes to not leave and because of that situation, the international flights are exempt for paying for a hotel or food," said Anolik.

One bright spot -- instead of price gouging several Bay Area hotels are offering big discounts to those affected by the air crash.

They include:

  • The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Room rates for visitors affected by the crash are reduced 70 percent to $129 per night.

  • The Palace Hotel also is offering a 70 percent discount, to $199 per night.

  • The Mark Hopkins has rooms for $259, a 20 percent reduction.

  • The Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito is offering rooms at $159, a 50 percent discount.

These rates are offered only through Thursday and you must prove you were delayed by the crash or are related to a crash victim.

Many delayed passengers also missed their connections to a cruise ship or tour. Anolik tells us the cruise operators are under no obligation to compensate passengers who missed a boat or a tour. He says travel insurance is about the only protection for passengers in that situation.

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