The Consumerist continues to deliver great advice for those of us flying the friendly skies. Their newest tidbit involves printing out a copy of the airline's "Rule 240," - My Travel Rights, explains-
Before airline deregulation in 1978, Rule 240 was literally a federal requirement. Nowadays, it's a term describing what individual airlines will do for late or stranded passengers. In fact, the major airlines have filed "conditions of carriage" with the U.S. Department of Transporatation (DOT) guaranteeing their respective Rule 240s.
My Travel Rights (what is there not a blog about these days?) also advises to brush up on the particular airline's Rule 240 before approaching an agent with a printed-out copy. You could be eligible for meal vouchers, ticket vouchers, hotel rooms and possibly a refund. A list of links to Rule 240 for most major American airlines can be found at the end of the above post.