- Travel insurance companies expect a rise in travel delay claims due to widespread flight issues this week
- Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance
- Policyholders may have coverage under travel delay, missed connection, and trip interruption benefits due to flight delays
Travel delay benefits vary with each travel insurance provider, generally between a 5 and 24-hour window. The benefit is designed to provide reimbursement for reasonable meals and accommodations while unable to travel.
Tip: Travelers must be delayed for a certain number of hours before this benefit can be applied. When comparing travel insurance, look for the minimum delay time (typically, starting at 5 hours) to start qualifying for coverage as soon as possible.
Trip interruption benefits are designed to provide travelers reimbursement of their unused portion of their pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs in the event they must unexpectedly cut their travels short — or the trip is extended due to unforeseen circumstances.
For those concerned about a delayed flight adversely affecting a cruise or tour departure, travelers may also want to ensure a missed connection benefit is included under a selected comprehensive travel insurance plan. This benefit is designed to provide travelers with coverage if a delayed flight (for example, of 3 hours or more) causes a traveler to miss a cruise departure.
Flight Cancellation Policies
Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.
Airlines are also not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight, such as prepaid, non-refundable:
- Hotel room
- All-inclusive vacation or resort
- A cruise
- A tour or safari
- Concert or entertainment tickets
Travelers concerned about protecting any trip expenses should consider travel insurance.
Dealing With Flight Delays
Each airline has its own flight delay policy for passengers waiting at the airport; there are no federal requirements. Travelers concerned about delays should be aware of the following:
- Generally, early departures are less likely to be delayed.
- Book a non-stop flight (no stops).
- When booking, ask the airline about the on-time performance percentage for an individual flight.
- Closer to departure, check real-time airport data. This will provide timely information on weather concerns or air traffic delays.
- Be aware of "creeping delays." This is when an airline continues to push back a departure time it can sometimes be extended for hours or lead to a cancellation.
- If a flight is delayed, try to learn the reason why to better gauge if the flight is in jeopardy of being canceled. Reasons for delays may include maintenance, fueling, crew issues, weather, previous flight with the same aircraft arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late, or security issues.
Passengers with departing flights at busier airports should consider travel insurance with robust travel delay benefits.
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