Q. I just returned to Seattle from Reno and my flight back on Saturday night on Alaska Air/Horizon was cancelled. The airline was unable to get me on another plane until Monday morning. Alaska Airlines put me up in a hotel and covered meals, but shouldn’t I also get compensation—at least reimbursement for my ticket since they definitely didn’t get me home within 24 hours? I’m a little irritated because I have a sneaking suspicion that they didn’t get me on another plane because I wasn’t complaining loudly and being unpleasant—I didn’t see anyone else from that plane at the hotel after Sunday morning.
A. That is a long time to be spending away from home. I'm surprised they couldn't re-route you, even if through Chicago, Atlanta, or another major hub. Alaska is one of the few airlines that still has a Rule 240 in its contract of carriage, meaning that they will put you on another airline if there is a flight irregularity within their control. I would definitely ask for a voucher good for future travel... maybe $200? Also, there's no law or rule saying that the airline is even required to put you up in a hotel or provide meals, and many won't step to the plate. So Alaska at least did that for you. By the way, those who complain in an unpleasant manner are usually the ones who get the least compensation. Maybe you didn't see the other "loud" passengers at the hotel because Alaska didn't give them hotel rooms.
*Follow up: This reader did indeed ask for compensation, and Alaska apologized and gave her a travel voucher for $300. So it's always a good idea to ask.