Q. Today I got an email that panicked me, rightfully as it turned out. Direct Air claimed they had tried to call me (false) and informed me that my February flight from Worcester, Mass. to San Juan was canceled, as in, they’re not flying the route any longer. Just like that. I paid a few months ago for these non-refundable tickets. I had booked a cruise and hotels (non-refundable this close to the departure) predicated solely on getting to Puerto Rico at this low fare. Can they really do this with no compensation at all? I searched and could not find a thing about this on the Web, or Dot.gov.
A. Yes, unfortunately the airlines are not regulated in such a scenario. They can cancel route, not just flights, at will, leaving passengers stranded and owing cancelation fees and other costs. As I’ve said before, it’s not really fair at all. Unfortunately, even travel insurance probably wouldn’t have covered you in this situation, unless you had bought a more expensive “cancel for any reason” policy. This is definitely an area where I’d like to see new consumer protections. Your only recourse is the collect your full refund from Direct Air and hope for a sale from Boston to San Juan on your dates of travel.