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Delays due to O'Hare/Midway closures raises questions about passenger rights

GEN. MITCHELL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT-- As travelers pass by the rental car at kiosks at Gen. Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, some are coming home from Milwaukee after a long day of travel.

\"There was no flight from Detroit to Milwaukee,\" said Scott Slater, as he returned his keys at one kiosk.

Slater was stuck in Detroit waiting for a connecting flight on his way back from Pittsburgh.

\"They told us as we were leaving Pittsburgh, there was an issue in Chicago, we didn't know it would affect Milwaukee or other areas in the Midwest,\" said Slater.

With all the delays and cancellations-- the next flight home couldn't come soon enough.

\"Next flight back for me, was tomorrow night through Atlanta,\" said Slater.

In the end-- Slater paid for a rental car and drove.

\"A lot of people drove,\" he explained, \"the rental car counters were very busy, and there were very few cars left in Detroit.\"

Slater is just one of many travelers caught in friday's travel mess after a fire at an FAA facility in Chicago.

\"Hell of a way to spend your first day of vacation standing in line,\" said one stranded traveler in line.

According to the US Department of Transportation's consumer guide to air travel, airlines are not legally required to make special accommodations for its customers when delays and cancellations occur.

\"Need to make this happen,\" said another traveler.

Airlines are also not legally obligated to reimburse its customers when their flights are cancelled.

\"Traveling on airlines is just tough nowadays, it's hard and I don't know what the real answer is,\" said Slater.

A hassle for everyone involved, but in this case-- Slater doesn't blame the airlines.

\"Happy to be home,\" he said.

The US Department of Transportation says budget travelers are the ones who should be most careful-- if your airline charges extremely low fares, they may not provide any amenities to stranded passengers.  Most airlines will rebook you on their first flight to your final destination at no charge if a seat is available.


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