Q. My family and I had boarded our flight to Houston, the doors were closed, and we were ready to go. But before we left the gate, it was discovered that there was a mechanical problem with the flaps. The flight was cancelled. We were put on a plane at 6:30 a.m. the following day. We were told there would be no compensation for the delay, which was a short weekend getaway to start with. Is this normal? Can they do this on mechanical delay. Do we have any recourse?

A. Unfortunately, they can. Consumers in the US have little protections when it comes to situations like this, something completely within the airline's control, whereas in Europe, you would have received several hundred dollars in compensation. I certainly hope they refunded your money, but I'll bet they'll keep the taxes/fees. You should certainly write their customer relations department and ask for a voucher good for a future flight, at the very least.

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