Air travel can be stressful even at the best of times. Throw in a flight delay and you are staring at a nightmare. A delay or deviation from the itinerary can throw the entire schedule into disarray. A missed connection, for instance, could see you losing an entire day or more from your precious holiday. And if these problems occur during peak travel times, which is likely because of the vacation schedules, it can be almost impossible to get an airline representative on the phone to deal with your problem.
Flight delays may occur due to security reasons, ranging from mundane to critical; due to inclement weather, due to staffing logistics with the crew or pilots, or due to mechanical or technical snags or glitches. Data from a monthly report released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reveals the following as the primary reasons for delays:
There is also the problem of flight cancellation. In India, the overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of Mar 2019 has been 0.93%.
So the golden question is, how do we deal with the inevitable – since stormy weather, logistical snags and reactionary delays are not within our hands? We have your back. Here’s a succinct rundown on what to expect when you are expecting a flight delay, and how you can allay your worst fears.
You can make provisions for any flight-related contingencies ahead of time.
For starters, it would be wise to book your flight for days when fewer people travel. These would be Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Avoiding peak vacation time will also help quit the queues formed on the security lines.
Another useful hack is to use technology to your advantage: Sign-up for instant notifications from the airport to make sure you’re the first to know about any changes. Sometimes third-party apps or websites are faster in relaying this information, so make sure you are not still catching up on information as you drive to the airport. This way, you can make arrangements quickly if a delay or cancellation does occur. Additionally, check-in using your computer or mobile device as soon as the 24-hour window opens. This will save you the trouble of standing in long queues at the check-in counters. And if your flight gets oversold, you will not be bumped off the flight.
And most importantly, to combat any and every travel snag – get travel insurance. Having a policy acts as a great cushion to fall back on, in case of a flight delay or cancellation. Many policies, like the Bajaj Allianz travel insurance, available on Bajaj Finserv MARKETS, will help cover your costs of a hotel room, meals, or other various expenses.
But it is extremely important to purchase your insurance well before your trip, as any storm systems that occur before your purchase will most likely not be covered. Take this example: you are on a connecting flight from Delhi to London in order to make it to your final stop at Edinburgh. If your flight to London was delayed, this, in turn, leads you to miss your Edinburgh flight as well.
This is when your travel insurance may kick in. If you miss more than the minimum time spelt out in your plan because your travel was delayed due to strike, common carrier delay, natural disasters, quarantine, a lost passport or another covered reason, then you may be able to make a trip cancellation claim. A travel insurance covers missed connection to help you continue your trip, a trip interruption coverage to help you return home early, and trip delay coverage. The latter will include reimbursement for meals, accommodation, lost prepaid expenses if your trip is delayed for more than the minimum amount of time demarcated in your travel insurance policy. The Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance, available on Bajaj Finserv MARKETS, boasts of a claim settlement ratio of 93% with no third-party involvement. It also provides the option to use Travel Ezee for instant reimbursement of flight delay expenses.
Before you cancel your trip or go ahead with any part of the claim, however, it’s wise to check in with your insurer. Do keep an eye out for the weather conditions and pack extra of everything – it is always best to err on the side of caution!
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