There is often a lot of stress associated with travelling abroad. Waking up early, beating peak hour traffic to the airport, shuffling through security and passport control with tired and excited children before you finally reach the boarding gate.
But what should you do after all of this if your flight is suddenly cancelled or delayed substantially?
“Having a cancelled flight can throw your whole holiday into disarray,” says Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Chris White. “It’s something you never plan for, but there are a few proven steps to getting your holiday back on track as soon as possible.”
Southern Cross Travel Insurance has devised an action plan containing the most important steps to follow if you ever find yourself abandoned at the airport.
Flight Cancellation Action Plan
1. Don’t book another flight
As tempting as it may seem, it’s important that you do not book another flight before you have spoken to your airline or travel agency. It is likely the airline has already shifted your booking to the next available departure, which could be in just a couple of hours.
Some airlines also allow you to choose a new flight through their website or mobile application but ensure you have spoken to an airline representative first.
2. Enquire about overnight accommodation
Although a flight cancellation might delay you by just a few hours, in some circumstances your booking may be moved to the following day, which means you will need accommodation. Check again with your airline for their accommodation and reimbursement policies before incurring any costs.
Most airlines have procedures in such circumstances and offer vouchers for meals and hotel transfers, so it’s important to ask.
3. Get an “insurance letter”
Once you have arranged new transport or accommodation, contact your airline to obtain an insurance letter. This letter will describe the reason for your flight’s cancellation and is a required standard for most travel insurers.
4. Check to see if your flight is eligible for compensation
You may be eligible for airline compensation. Australia and Canada follow the Montreal Convention, while New Zealand, the USA and Europe also have legislation governing compensation. Check your policy document, contact your insurer or call the airline.
5. Think of any further implications for the rest of your trip
If your timeline is pushed out due to flight delays and you miss your connections, such as the guest bus to the wedding venue, it might be worth looking into private transport options to get there in time. Some travel insurers will even cover these costs.
For example, if you’re travelling overseas to attend a special event, such as a wedding, funeral, conference, concert, show, festival or sporting event, Southern Cross Travel Insurance will pay up to $3000 per person, to a maximum of $6000 per journey, towards reasonable additional costs of alternative transport that will help you to get to your special event on time.
6. Keep a copy of your insurance handy
Keep a copy of your insurance policy handy and save your insurer’s contact details into your phone, so you have the details on hand should anything go wrong.