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Explaining Airlines Cancelation & Delay Policy

Explaining Airlines Cancelation & Delay Policy

If you are one of the many travelers who have seen their travel plans interrupted by airline cancellation or delay, you may have questions about what your rights for compensation are. The resurgence of travel in combination with smaller staffing and government regulations for the number of hours pilots and crew are allowed to work have caused many travelers to experience these types of flight disruptions. Most airlines are doing their best to help customers with any issue that occurs due to these conditions. 

The best advice is to be patient, be polite and ask. You won’t know what the airlines can help with if you don’t ask, and they are willing to help if they have the ability to do so. With that, what are your rights should you experience a trip delay or cancellation?

Will I Get a Refund for My Canceled Flight?

You may be entitled to some or all of the ticket price if you are unable to travel due to circumstances deemed acceptable by the carrier or ticket agent. This could be related to communicable disease or natural disaster. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing that it is “an unfair business practice for a U.S. air carrier, a foreign air carrier, or a ticket agent to refuse to provide requested refunds to consumers when a carrier has canceled or made a significant change to a scheduled flight to, from, or within the United States, and consumers found the alternative transportation offered by the carrier or the ticket agent to be unacceptable.” 

Although that sounds pretty straightforward, it’s not as simple as that. 

Under these circumstances those who have purchased non-refundable tickets could be provided with a non-expiring voucher or credit for use at a later, more convenient date. If you have a refundable ticket and don’t wish to continue with your travel plans, you should be able to get a full refund.

If the carrier or the ticket agent received any financial assistance from the government, your tickets should be refunded in total, no matter what type purchased. However, you may be required to provide proof that they did, in fact, receive assistance. 

What Rights Do I Have if My Flight is Delayed?

Airline carriers are not required to provide compensation for delayed flights. However, most offer reasonable accommodations or vouchers for travelers due to unforeseen circumstances. You can also ask to be rerouted to another airline if one is available, however they may not compensate you for any additional fees. Check with the ticket agent for options. 

If your flight has been delayed and you have to change your travel plans or miss other flights, the DOT has provided a new Airline Customer Service Dashboard that will quickly tell you what rights you have from your airline provider. The dashboard only addresses controllable cancellations or delays. These are mechanical issues, staffing shortages, or delays in restocking supplies, inspections, fueling, or baggage handling. Delays or cancellations caused by weather or security concerns are not included, nor do they count.

The dashboard chart below will take you through what each airline is committed to offering customers should their flights be delayed or canceled. This list may change depending on the circumstances, so always check with your carrier first.

U.S. Department of Transportation Airline Customer Service Dashboard Screenshot

Does Trip Insurance for Flights Cover Cancellations or Delays?

Anything that is caused by the airline itself would not be covered by a trip insurance cancellation policy unless the airline failed to offer any kind of compensation. Airline carriers are responsible for any costs listed in the dashboard. 

If the airline carrier does not provide any kind of assistance or compensation, you may be able to check your trip insurance policy to see if there are any options available. A policy that offers Cancel for Any Reason flight insurance can help you at least recoup a majority of your nonrefundable eligible costs in the event of a cancellation or delay. Read more about how trip cancellation insurance covers unforeseen events here. 

Contact Our Customer Service Team for More Information 

If you need help deciding on what travel insurance coverage plan is right for you, or you just have a question about travel insurance plans in general, VisitorsCoverage’s customer success team of licensed travel insurance experts is happy to help.

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Plan features listed here are high level, provided for your convenience and information purpose only. Please review the Evidence of Coverage and Plan Contract (Policy) for a detailed description of Coverage Benefits, Limitations and Exclusions. Must read the Policy Brochure and Plan Details for complete and accurate details. Only the Terms and Conditions of Coverage Benefits listed in the policy are binding.