Nobody wants to hear their flight is canceled while on a business trip. This is especially true when a video conference call can’t replace the event you’re meant to be at. And while you might not receive compensation for lost business revenue, there is a possibility to recoup your travel costs and any incidental expenses. When the unexpected happens on a business trip, here are a few steps you can take to get help.
Check with your Airline First
The first step is checking with the airline to see what compensation they can offer. Each airline has different cancellation policies. If you haven’t started your trip yet, visit the airline website to assess your options. You should also call the airline as soon as possible to discuss next steps.
If your flight is canceled, the airline might offer the following remedies:
- Rebook on an alternate flight
- Provide food and lodging vouchers for extended delays
- Receive a travel credit for a future flight
If you’re already at the airport when your flight gets canceled, your best option can be talking to the terminal airline service representative. If there’s a long line, you can try calling their customer service hotline or checking their app. You can also access your flight itinerary and airline contact information using the TripIt Pro app.
Use Credit Card Travel Protection
If you’re a small business owner, you have the liberty of choosing which business credit card you use to book your flight. Thanks to travel protection benefits, the credit card you used to book your flight can be your best friend during this stressful time.
Like airlines, each credit card has different travel protection policies. For example, your flight will need to be delayed a certain number of hours under a covered reason for travel protection benefits to apply. Also, be prepared to submit supporting documentation to prove the flight delay reason and your non-refundable travel expenses.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred covers up to $5,000 in non-refundable travel expenses including airfare, hotels, and tours. When a flight cancellation causes your trip to be delayed at least 12 hours, Chase might reimburse up to $500 daily in reasonable incidental expenses including lodging, food, and ground transportation. Make sure you keep your receipts to request reimbursement.
The co-brand United Explorer Business Card also has some impressive trip protection benefits. These benefits include:
- Up to $10,000 for non-refundable travel expenses
- Up to $500 per ticket for meal and lodging with a 12+ hour delay
- Up to $100 per day in baggage delay insurance for essential purchases with 6+ hour delays
Most airline credit cards limit their travel protection benefits to accident insurance and baggage protection. As an Explorer cardholder, you also get two one-time United Club passes each year. Plus you can enjoy a few other United perks including priority boarding and a free checked bag.
Get Business Travel Insurance
Another flexible backstop to consider is business travel insurance. When the airline and credit card company won’t reimburse your travel expenses, this standalone policy can pay for itself several times over. Call the travel insurance provider hotline for help when your flight gets canceled.
Other ways to Handle a Canceled Flight
Contacting the airline, using your travel credit card protection, and keeping your business travel insurance policy handy are the three best ways to handle a canceled flight. But you still need to make it to your final destination and are at the mercy of flight availability to finish your trip. To help avoid these situations, take the following into consideration.
Only take a Carry-On
If possible, only pack a carry-on. The airline might offer to send you to a nearby airport as the quickest way to get you to your destination. If you check your luggage, there’s a chance your bag will still go to your original airport.
If you experience an overnight delay and have to get a hotel room, keeping your essentials in a carry-on can prevent yet another headache.
Know your Passenger Rights
You should also familiarize yourself with the U.S. Department of Transportation Fly Rights. These passenger rights help provide a basic outline of what your alternate options are. Of course, each airline still has their own policy you must follow too.
If you’re flying to or from Europe, you might be able to get up to €600 in compensation when your flight is delayed at least three hours thanks to EU regulations. One of the easiest ways to file a claim is using Claim Compass for the following EU-based flights for the following routes:
- Intra-Europe flights
- International flights originating in the EU
- International flights arriving in the EU
Avoid Mixed Carrier Flights
You have more bargaining power when your connecting flights are impacted by a canceled flight on the same carrier. The carrier who cancels the flight can either put you on a partner flight or another carrier-operated flight. If you need to file a travel protection claim, only having to deal with one carrier can make the compensation process easier, too.
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