A TikTok user shared that United Airlines provided her with a cot instead of a hotel voucher after her flight was delayed overnight at Denver International Airport.
On May 22, Madison Taravella (@madison_taravella) posted a glimpse of the provided cots. The video has received over 53,000 views as of May 24.
@madison_taravella Spent the night at the airport with no bag 🥲 #unitedairlines #traveltiktok #airportdiaries ♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨
“My flight was delayed overnight and United Airlines gave me a cot instead of hotel accommodations,” Taravella wrote in a text overlay.
“Spent the night at the airport with no bag,” she added in the caption.
In the comments section, viewers echoed Taravella’s frustration.
“No way in HELL!!! Omg I’m appalled for you,” one person wrote.
Many other commenters shared their own similar experiences.
“I had to wait in a chair until 4:45 a.m. until we could get a hotel accommodation, couldn’t get my bag & had to be back through security/check-in at 8 a.m.,” one viewer wrote.
“Alaska Airlines didn’t even offer me a cot, I had to sleep on the floor of SeaTac,” another shared.
United Airlines is not the only airline to be called out for this behavior. On March 3, a TikToker named Sam (@sam.outdoors) posted a video displaying rows of cots at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after her American Airlines flight was canceled. The video has amassed over 530,000 views.
@sam.outdoors like a big sleep over with all the annoying people from the plane! @americanairlinesoffical #americanairlines #austintx #halfmarathon #angelslanding #zionnationalpark #hiketok #travel ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell
“I may have had my flight canceled and missed my angels landing permit but at least American Airlines has these cots for me to sleep in,” Sam wrote sarcastically.
Many commenters on both videos questioned the legality of this practice. However, unlike in Europe, no U.S. laws require airlines to provide hotel or food vouchers.
Instead, these policies vary by airline.
Per the airline’s contract of carriage, United Airlines will provide “either one night’s lodging, or, if no lodging is provided and upon the passenger’s request only, reimbursement for one night’s lodging in the form of an electronic travel certificate that may be applied to future travel on UA up to a maximum amount determined by UA when a UA flight on which a Passenger is being transported incurs Irregular Operations and the Passenger incurs a delay that is expected to exceed four hours between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. local time.”
American Airlines has a similar policy. In the conditions of carriage, the airline states that if the disruption is its fault and the passenger is either diverted to another city or not boarded by 11:59 p.m., the company will “arrange an overnight stay or cover the cost of an approved hotel, if available.”
It is unclear if the circumstances documented in these videos fit within the parameters of these policies.
The Daily Dot contacted Taravella and Sam via Facebook Messenger and United Airlines and American Airlines via email for further information.