Travel Tip Tuesday
Rainy days can give you the blues but really rainy days can ruin flight plans. With all the storms happening in the northeast, we thought it was a good time to discuss what to do when your flights are cancelled or delayed due to inclement weather. Welcome to the latest edition of Travel Tip Tuesday!
Having a trip cancelled is very stressful. However, following these nine tips can provide peace of mind before the trouble arises. Before we get into our handy tips, it’s important to understand the difference between a trip cancellation and interruption.
Cancellation vs Interruption
While the difference may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that when it comes to travel insurance, details matter. Make sure you are aware of the difference and what your travel insurance, if you have it, specifies they will cover.
“Trip cancellation” means you were forced to cancel your trip due to weather, or some other emergency, prior to departure. “Trip interruption” means something out of your control interfered with your trip itinerary between departure and your return flight home. Whether you’re making use of airline policies, credit cards with travel protection, or a travel insurance policy for a specific trip, make sure you have read the fine print and have one or both of those events covered.
1. Book using a Credit Card with Travel Protection
Many credit cards offer travel perks, but when your flight is grounded during a blizzard, travel protection is a must.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you frequently travel internationally, you may want to consider this card. Be warned that the annual fee is $450, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared with the cost of losing a trip due to bad weather. There are two key reasons why the benefits outweigh the annual fee. First, the reimbursement maximum is $10,000. This is vastly higher than most other credit card or airline allotments. Plus, the coverage is available to the cardholder’s immediate family, even if the cardholder is not traveling. Pretty neat, huh?
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Maybe you travel a few times a year, but not enough to feel comfortable paying the $450 fee of the Sapphire Reserve. You’re in luck. Chase offers another credit card, the Sapphire Preferred, which has an annual fee of only $95. The maximum reimbursement is $10,000, just like the Sapphire Reserve.
Citi Thank You Preferred
Unlike the Chase cards, there is no annual fee for this card and the travel insurance for trip cancellation or interruption is good. Maximum coverage is $5,000 per covered traveler per trip. And Citi defines travelers as the cardholder, their family members, and traveling companions, which is a nice perk for someone traveling with a friend or domestic partner. This can be a bit of a gray area with other travel insurance policies. Some only cover family members.
2. Check Airline flight cancellation and interruption coverage
The extent to how much – if any – reimbursement you get depends on the airline. Some will reschedule your flight, no problem. Others may offer free accommodations, transportation to them, and even meal vouchers. Others will require you to pay out of pocket lodging or new flights, but will reimburse you later on when you submit a claim. Make sure to check ahead with your airline(s).
3. Receipts are your friends!
If you do experience a cancelled or interrupted trip, make sure to keep all receipts! Ask for itemized receipts so you can clearly demonstrate to the airline or credit card company how much extra you were forced to spend due to trip cancellation or interruption.
4. Check airport and airline websites
Airport websites will usually have weather updates to keep travelers in the know. Airline sites should have your flight’s status available, though they’ll probably need the flight number so have that ready. Additionally, it’s a good idea to see if the airport or airline has an app you can download. This makes it easy to store your upcoming flights and eliminates the need to sort through many pages of a site.
5. Make use of airport WiFi
If you’re stuck at the airport, the last thing you need to do is burn through your precious data. See if there is free wifi available at your location. Not sure? Ask an airport employee for help!
6. Keep your phone charged
This is especially crucial if you’re stuck at the airport when the bad weather hits. If you’re trying to reschedule a flight, hotel stay, or transportation, you’ll need access to your email.
The problem is everyone will be looking for outlets. Try to snag a charging outlet or ask a neighbor if you can share theirs. Most people are willing to help each other during a bad weather delay, you just have to ask! Pro tip: sometimes restrooms have outlets. It might be tedious to stand in a bathroom while your phone charges, but it’s better than missing important updates or calls! If you’re really desperate, ask the gate attendant if you can charge your phone by plugging it into their computer.
7. Extend your hotel stay
It’s better to find out about inclement weather before you check out. If you check out of your hotel and then discover your flight has been cancelled, now you’ll have to battle with everyone else trying to get a hotel room for the night. However, if you politely explain to the front desk that your flight has been cancelled, they will often allow you to extend your stay.
8. Add a travel insurance plan to your trip
When you call Jaya to book your trip, ask about what travel protection we can offer!
9. Call your Jaya agent!
No one is more prepared to help you when bad weather threatens your trip. Our customer service is available 24/7. (Just make sure to follow tip no. 6 and keep your phone charged!)