What’s Really Covered When an Airline Delays a Flight

Published by January 3, 2014

Airline DelaysA common reason travelers seek travel insurance is for help if their flight is delayed. Travelers can receive travel delay coverage as part of three separate benefits available within a policy. These benefits are trip interruption, travel delay, and missed connection. Depending on the circumstance, a traveler may use some or all of these benefits. All of the available benefits require the traveler to be delayed for a stated period of time, typically ranging between 6 and 24 hours.

Trip Interruption

Trip interruption offers reimbursement if a trip is interrupted due to a covered reason. In the event of an airline delay, a traveler may be covered if the delay is due to a mechanical problem with the airplane, inclement weather that has grounded the flight, a natural disaster, or a complete cessation of flights. If a flight is delayed due to one of these reasons, causing the traveler to miss out on a portion of their trip, they may be eligible to receive reimbursement for any prepaid and nonrefundable expense that went unused due to the delay.

Travel Delay

Travel delay providers reimbursement for the costs of reasonable lodging, meals, and local transportation during an unplanned, covered delay. Most policies include a financial limit per person and per day. Typically, one must be delayed for the specified amount of time according to their policy to be able to be covered for the extra costs.

Missed Connection

Missed connection reimburses a traveler for the transportation costs it took to catch them up with their trip in the event of a delayed flight. Most often, this benefit applies to catching up to a missed cruise or tour departure. Typically, a missed connection will be covered if a traveler misses a connecting flight due to flight cancellation, delay, inclement weather, or natural disaster. Missed connection coverage also has a monetary limit per person.

Travelers who purchase travel insurance may be in luck if an unplanned flight delay affects their trip, however in order to select a policy with adequate coverage, they should review these three sections of the policies available to them. Understanding what benefits are available and what requirements must be met before they can receive each benefit, may help the traveler receive reimbursement for any unplanned, out-of-pocket expenses due to the delay.