Woman talking(l+r), Food in box(c)


‘No matter how long your flight gets delayed’: Woman shares how to get free food, drinks at airport if flight is delayed

‘Knowing your rights is super important.’


Nina Hernandez


A woman shared an expert travel hack on how to get free food and drinks at the airport if your flight is delayed a certain amount of time.

TikTok user and travel enthusiast Cari Elizabeth (@carielizabethh) posted the video on May 29 from the airport in Austin, Texas. In the video, Elizabeth reminds other travelers to ask for “food & drink vouchers when your flight gets delayed!” It’s top of mind for Elizabeth and her boyfriend. That’s because when they arrived at the airport, they learned their flight was delayed.

The free food hack

“And so when we were checking in, we asked if we could get some food or drink vouchers because of the flight delay,” Elizabeth says. “They did honor it. And they gave us each two $15 food vouchers, which meant that we got $60 in food and drink vouchers.”

The airline let the couple choose whether to redeem the vouchers at the Austin airport or at their next stop in Houston. Due to the delay, the couple chose to use the vouchers in Austin. Elizabeth used her vouchers on an açaí bowl. Her boyfriend chose a plate of Salt Lick BBQ. 

“We were not expecting to get $60 whatsoever. But this is your sign—no matter how long your flight gets delayed, or even if it gets canceled—you need to be asking for food and drink vouchers,” Elizabeth says. “This came in so clutch. … We were planning to eat once we got to our connection. And instead now we got to get some food at the Austin airport. And we didn’t even have to pay for it.”

She concludes, “So next time your flight gets delayed, make sure you’re asking if you can get any food and drink vouchers. … Knowing what your rights are when your flight gets canceled or delayed is super important. There’s so many different things that you can get with it—food and drink vouchers, refunds for your flight ticket, hotels.”

@carielizabethh don’t forget to ask for food & drink vouchers if your flight gets delayed once you’re already at the airport! #travel #traveltiktok #traveltips #travelsmart #traveltipsandhacks #united #unitedairlines #airporthacks #airporttips #flightdelayed #flightdelay #flightdelays #tipsfortravel #tipsforflights #travelsmarter #caritravels #airportdiaries #traveltipsandtricks #traveling ♬ original sound – cari

What to do if your flight gets delayed or canceled

The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that most airlines will rebook you on the next flight if your original flight is canceled. “If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if it will pay for meals or a phone call. Some airlines, often those charging very low fares, do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers. Others may not offer amenities if the delay is caused by bad weather or something else beyond the airline’s control. Contrary to popular belief, for domestic itineraries airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled,” the article states.

In April, the department announced it’s making it easier for passengers to get refunded in cash for canceled or “significantly changed” flights. That means if your flight is delayed more than three hours domestically (and six hours internationally), you’re entitled to a full refund of the ticket purchase price. “Airlines may not substitute vouchers, travel credits, or other forms of compensation unless the passenger affirmatively chooses to accept alternative compensation,” the announcement reads.

Where to ask for the vouchers

Elizabeth’s video amassed 181,000 views.

In the comments section, users took the opportunity to share their own airline horror stories. One user claimed, “American Airlines gave me $10 food voucher for a 24 hour delay … never again.” 

Several users said to put the balance on a Starbucks account. “YOU CAN ALSO USE THE VOUCHERS AS A RELOAD FOR STARBUCKS ACCOUNT,” wrote one user.

Another person asked, “Who at the airport did you ask? I would nervous to ask the wrong person. This is a great tip! I will be sure to use it.”

Elizabeth responded, “We asked the people at the desk when we checked our bags!!”

The Daily Dot reached out to Cari Elizabeth via email for comment. 

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