Earlier this week I wrote about my recent trip to New York and how to save money on NYC hotels, transportation and sightseeing.
During the trip I encountered a slight glitch – a flight delay on the way back home. Not a big deal and common while travelling these days. But this one was different – not only was there a weather delay, the flight we were originally scheduled to be on was cancelled 3 months ago.
Booking of Travel
I booked the NYC trip through Travelocity using the best price available at the time. I’ve used Travelocity in the past and have never had an issue, so I assumed this trip wouldn’t be any different.
Travelocity offers one-stop shopping for flight and hotel deals. You can browse through tons of different hotels while building the flight combination that works best for your schedule. You can also read reviews on each hotel and find the one that suits you best.
Two days before departing for NYC I logged in to Travelocity to get the travel itinerary. It showed the original flights as I booked them with no changes or updates.
I found out later the return flight was actually cancelled 3 months ago, but this change wasn’t reflected on the Travelocity itinerary so I assumed everything was fine and I didn’t bother to check directly with the airlines because the Travelocity itinerary showed no changes.
When we showed up at the airport to fly back home, we were told of the change and that we’d be required to contact Travelocity to get onto a new flight. The airline gave us the 1-800 number of Travelocity to call. I knew this was going downhill fast; with two hours before we were supposed to depart and had a 1-800 to call, I envisioned being stuck in there overnight waiting for a flight home.
Luckily the airline was very helpful and they were able to grab two tickets on a flight leaving later in the day, so the actual delay only ended up being 4.5 hours.
Responsibility of Notification
According to a rep from American Airlines, federal regulations require the travel agent (Travelocity) to notify the passenger directly of any changes to the flight(s). This even includes minor changes like a change in the planned aircraft. In our case we obviously weren’t notified of the flight change.
I called Travelocity directly (while sitting in the airport) and explained this. They said it was the airline’s responsibility and the airline should have notified us.
Compensation for Delays
Travelocity finally conceded they should have updated the itinerary in their system to reflect the changes and offered a $100 travel voucher for our troubles.
Waiting for hours in the airport also meant we needed food and drinks.
Related: Why I Always Buy Travel Insurance
I was sure to put these costs on my Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card since I know it has good travel insurance coverage. The card offers $500 per trip for flight delays of 4 hours or longer. I’m in the process of making the claim right now but it’s pretty straight forward, and it looks like we’ll get reimbursed for about $75 of expenses while sitting at the airport waiting for the flight. The insurance even covers things like paperback books and magazines in case you need something to read while waiting in the airport.
Our situation wasn’t too bad, but passengers who are delayed for extended periods can be compensated even more. Some airlines pay up to $800 per passenger for delays over 8 hours.
Tips for Getting Compensated for a Flight Delay
If your flights delayed you may be able to get compensation from either the airline, your travel agent or your travel insurance – and it can all add up.
Here are some tips to get your money back for expenses you incur:
- keep receipts for everything you pay for
- if you have a credit card with travel insurance, pay for the expenses with the credit card
- if your flight is delayed be sure to confirm with the airline and get the airline to put the delay in writing – you may need it for an insurance claim
- keep your spending limited to the essentials – food, drinks, hotel, etc as insurance is not likely to reimburse for much else
- you may also need your flight ticket, itinerary and proof of the delay (confirmation from airline) for an insurance claim
Conclusion: our return flight ended well and the delay wasn’t too bad, but in the future I’ll be sure to double check the travel itinerary directly with the airline. The airline was great in helping to sort out the flights and I will receive $175 in compensation for the delay which I am happy with.
Has your flight ever been delayed? How did it affect your travel plans?