Help Clients Face A Flight Cancellation
A flight cancellation can leave you feeling lost, unsure of who to turn to, or even stuck at the airport for some time. An increase in flight cancellations this year has left airports in chaos. As airlines struggle to retain and maintain staffing levels to deliver a positive customer experience, more flight cancellations are set to follow.
So, our knowledgeable team has some travel advice, for you to share with your clients. Help them reach their destination with confidence if their flights are cancelled, delayed, or disrupted by viewing our advice below…
What compensation is due for a flight cancellation?
Everyone is entitled to a full refund or alternative flight if their flight is cancelled. This applies regardless of:
- How long before the flight the airline informed them.
- What caused the cancellation.
If stuck at the airport or abroad because a flight has been cancelled, the following applies:
- The airline should share what’s going on. Their customers can ask at a check-in desk. They can look at the airline’s website, app, Twitter, and Facebook for updates. Also, they could check the email used when booking too, in case they’ve been sent an update. Plus, flight-delayed.co.uk provides the status of flights – where they’ve been delayed or cancelled.
- Airlines must look after their customers. Especially if they’re waiting for an alternative flight because their original one was cancelled.
Airlines need to provide:
- A reasonable amount of food and drink (often provided in the form of vouchers).
- A means for customers to communicate (often by refunding the cost of calls).
- Accommodation, if customers are re-routed the next day (usually in a nearby hotel).
- Transport to and from the accommodation (or home, if a customer is able to return there).
Keep the receipts
If an airline can’t immediately cover these costs or provide a voucher, their customers can buy their own and claim back the cost. However, receipts must be kept. Plus, only reasonable expenses are covered. Checking an airline’s website for further guidance is always wise as well.
For cancelled package holidays the tour operator has to either:
- Source an alternative flight, or
- An alternative holiday, or
- Refund the whole cost of the holiday
If a claim needs to be made, the tour operator should be contacted directly. Also, the tour operator must cover accommodation, food, and transfer costs, rather than the airline. If the customer isn’t invited to make a claim, again keeping the receipts should help.
If a flight has been rescheduled after a flight cancellation and the new dates/times are not acceptable the flight operator will simply offer an alternate flight or a refund either as a cash payment or voucher.
No one has the right to additional compensation, e.g. to make up for a non-refundable hotel, pre-booked car hire, excursions, or tickets for theme parks, concerts, or events (although a refund can always be requested). However, there’s no legal protection for these costs.
Travel insurance will not cover any additional costs in re-booking flights with a different provider or anything pre-booked and non-refundable if a customer chooses to cancel the trip.
Will Travel Insurance cover a flight cancellation?
Travel insurance will not cover:
- Any additional costs in re-booking flights with a different provider.
- Anything pre-booked and non-refundable if a customer chooses to cancel the trip.
Typically, an insurance policy will only respond to claims for irrecoverable costs. i.e. only claims that can’t be met elsewhere, by those primarily responsible. In most instances, a refund is due via consumer protection laws, such as Package Travel & Linked Arrangement Regulations 2018; EU Transport Regulations; Consumer Credit Act; or debit card chargebacks.
As such, in the first instance, contact the following:
- The tour operator, such as TUI.
- The airline.
- Accommodation provider.
- Credit or debit card providers.
Claims can only be considered where these options have been attempted.
Travel Disruptions and Delays due to flight cancellation – what’s covered?
This would provide cover for reasonable additional accommodation and travel expenses necessarily incurred to reach the overseas destination or to reach home due to:
- Scheduled public transport services failing to get a customer to their destination in time or not running to timetable.
- This could be due to strikes, industrial action, adverse weather conditions, or mechanical breakdown. The insurance policy will specify what reasons are covered under this section.
Once the departure point is reached, delays can still occur. If a customer’s departure is delayed because the public transport carrier they’ve checked in for is delayed for a specified period – from the time shown in their travel itinerary. It is a condition that they must check-in, according to the itinerary of their trip – unless their public transport carrier has requested them not to travel to the departure point. If after the specified delay period, they may decide not to continue on their trip. Cover is provided under the Cancellation section of their insurance policy for Abandonment up to the limits shown.
What isn’t covered?
- Any claims arising directly or indirectly from the delay of travel arrangements caused by or on the order of any government, public or local authority including but not limited to any civil or federal aviation authority.
- Any claims directly or indirectly related to a pandemic and/or epidemic, including but not limited to Coronavirus.
With reference to our travel insurance policies…
- Our Adventures policy does not cover circumstances already known at the time of taking out this insurance or booking the trip.
- The Free Spirit policy does not cover a)&b) – any claim arising from the failure of public transport services that is due to a strike or industrial action that started or that had been announced before the date of your departure from home.
- Travel Plus does not cover any claim which is the result of any form of industrial action, strike or failure of the public transport carrier announced on television, news bulletins, or in the media in the UK before you booked a trip and bought this insurance.
- Coach Plus does not cover failure of public transport caused by a riot, civil commotion, strike or industrial action which began or was announced before you left home or where you could have reasonably made other travel arrangements.
Whichever policy, help your clients travel with confidence by ensuring they review its Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions before travelling.
Download and view P J Hayman’s range of travel documents here.
Download and view our tips and hints to travel disruption here.