Flight Delays and Cancellations Are a Big Problem and Hurricane Season Could Make Them Worse — How to Protect Yourself Financially

New York, March 16, 2017: An American Airlines jet late in the day at gate 14 Terminal 8 at JFK.
400tmax / Getty Images

The return of full flight schedules and packed airplanes after two years of COVID-19 restrictions has not exactly gone smoothly. Heavy demand from travelers, coupled with labor shortages in the airline industry, has contributed to a spike in flight cancellations and delays this summer.

More than 10,000 delays and 1,700 cancellations worldwide occurred in a single morning earlier this month, Forbes reported, citing data from FlightAware, a flight tracking company. On June 17 — the Friday before the Juneteenth holiday — nearly one-third of U.S. flights arrived late, according to The New York Times.

The 2022 “flightmare” might get even worse during the upcoming hurricane season, when millions of travelers try to enjoy one last trip before school starts.

It’s no coincidence that travel insurance has suddenly become quite a trendy topic for consumers. As the name suggests, travel insurance covers costs associated with traveling — everything from cancellations and medical expenses to rental cars. As GOBankingRates previously reported, the typical cost for travel insurance is about 5% to 6% of the cost of a trip, though rates can vary widely.

Expert Suggests Travel Tips for Fliers

Travel insurance is available at a number of companies, including Allianz Travel Insurance, Faye, HTH Travel Insurance, InsureMyTrip, Nationwide and Travelex.

Under some policies, you can receive $200 for common flight inconveniences such as lengthy flight delays and cancellations, said Julia Menez, a points and miles strategy coach and founder of the Geobreeze Travel Podcast. Those inconveniences have become major worries this summer.

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“When it comes to trip delays, you can be covered for up to $300 a day in additional expenses like food and hotels if your trip is delayed by six hours or more,” Menez told GOBankingRates in an email statement.

Providers such as Faye, a travel insurance startup that provides whole-trip travel coverage, also give you access to a support team that can get in touch with the airline on your behalf — “a major perk given long wait times this season,” Menez said.

To give yourself even more financial protection when traveling, Menez suggests booking trips with a credit card instead of a debit card to take advantage of consumer fraud protections and travel protections.

“These protections can cover cases where you were accidentally charged twice or charged fraudulently,” she said.

She also recommends using apps such as CardPointers, which lets you manually add in the credit cards you have and then provides a list of benefits included with them. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards include trip protections such as reimbursement for cancellations or interruptions, delays, and lost or damaged luggage.

“You may also be entitled to compensation from the airlines for situations such as delays on a European flight or a flight operated by a European carrier, or if you are involuntarily bumped off of a flight due to overbooking,” Menez said.

Make Your Money Work for You

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