5 ‘Secret’ Airline Guarantees

Here at FareCompare, we recently reported on passenger rights during delays and the sad truth is, there aren’t many. However, there are some perks when problems occur but they’re so little known they might as well be secrets.

LISTEN: Rick reveals more.

Secret Airline Guarantees

In most cases, these guarantees are not highlighted on airline homepages. We found the following, though, and if you find others, we’d love to hear about them.

Baggage Fee Guarantees

  • Alaska: If your checked-bag doesn’t make it to the carousel within 20 minutes, you get a choice of 2,500 miles or a voucher code that’ll get you $25 off your next Alaska flight. Learn more here.
  • Delta: Delta now offers the same 20 minute checked-bag guarantee, but you only get 2,500 miles in compensation. Also, at the moment, this is an experiment and only good on flights through March 31. Learn more here.

Baggage Guarantee with a Twist

  • Frontier: A nice little freebie. Even if you don’t pay a checked-bag fee, because you’re traveling on a more expensive Classic Plus ticket or are an elites miles member – and your bag goes missing – you get a travel voucher good the amount of the baggage fee you would have paid had you been traveling as a non-elite economy passenger. Regular economy passengers get bag fees reimbursed on missing bags, too, of course. Learn more here.

Delay Guarantee

  • JetBlue: If your JetBlue flight is delayed and it’s the airline’s fault (say, a mechanical problem), you get credit toward future flights ranging from $25 for a two hour delay up to $200 for a delay of six hours or more. There are similar guarantees for lengthy stuck-on-the-tarmac scenarios such as late arriving planes that can’t find an open gate or planes that have to wait a while for take-off. Important note: This guarantee does not apply to situations outside the airline’s control, such as bad weather. Learn more here.

Change-Your-Mind Guarantee

  • Southwest: This is the best guarantee of all, and Southwest is the only U.S. airline that offers it. While all carriers give you 24 hours to change your mind about a flight, change your mind after that and you’re stuck with a steep change fee – $200 on some airlines. Southwest has no change fee whatsoever. Sure, we like Southwest’s free bags, but the ‘no change fee’ policy is even better. Learn more here.

Where to Find Airline Guarantees

Most everything an airline will or will not do for you is listed in its Contract of Carriage – often called, Conditions of Carriage with international airlines. You’ll find this on your airline’s website. If you can’t find this document under those names, try looking for it under:

  • Legal
  • Customer commitments
  • Help section

Pay special attention to the Baggage and Delays sections of these documents.


Updated: March 3, 2015