Travelore Tips: 5 Ways To Get paid If Your Flight Is Delayed Or Canceled
photo by Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures via Flickr
In the annals of travel torture, flight delays and cancellations rank near the top — above screaming babies, but probably under sandwich raging sociopaths. Unless bumped off a flight involuntarily, you are mostly at the mercy of the airline when it comes to getting compensation, and airlines generally have no obligation to give you anything. However, with a bit of savvy, flight delays and cancellations can indeed land cash in your pocket, if you follow these five tips:
Credit cards often have better compensation benefits than anything the airline can offer. Purchase a ticket with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, and earn protection for yourself and immediate family members. If the delay or cancellation causes an overnight stay or a 12-hour plus wait, the card ponies up to $500 per person for meals, lodging, clothing, and transport.
File a claim with passenger rights advocates AirHelp or Refund.me. If you have a good case, the site will put its legal skills to use to get you some sort of refund, (but it will also take a healthy 15-25% fee if it succeeds).
Fly more through Europe. Cancellations or delays more than three hours on flights to the U.S. require compensation of up to $825 — a little publicized perk, which fewer than 2% of eligible travelers claim. Flights within Europe are also protected by EU law, which gives generous payouts as well.
Invest in travel insurance. It’s not nearly the hassle or expense you think, with plans like AirCareby Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection costing just $25. If your flight’s delayed by 2 hours or more, you’ll get $50. Miss a connection because of a delay and you’ll get $250. Get stuck on the tarmac for more than 2 hours, and you’ll receive a full $1000.
Stick with one airline. Your ability to leverage compensation for delays or cancellations increases tremendously if you are a valuable customer. Elite membership doesn't only get you airport-lounge access, free cocktails, and priority boarding. It also can get you the very sympathetic ear of someone who wants to keep you happy, compensation included.