Nothing strikes panic into a passenger’s heart faster than the possibility of missing their plane, but being grounded is part and parcel of modern day travel.
42% of Australian travellers have missed a flight at some point say survey results from travel.com.au. 15% of passengers acknowledge that they were to blame for missing their flights through poor time management and absent mindedness. In fact, when compared to Chinese, English and US passengers, Australians take the cake when it comes to careless travel. Travel insurer Allianz has revealed that in 2014 Australians missed a staggering 3,059 flights.
Survey results from flight comparison site Skyscanner.com revealed similar results. Leading causes for missed flights included traffic jams (21%), not hearing final flight calls (12%), and not allowing ample time to get to the airport or onto a connecting flight (11%).
Whether travellers are running late or are at the mercy of bad weather or an overbooked flight, the number one question remains. Will travel insurance cover a missed flight?
The simple answer? Maybe! It all depends on the situation.
Natalie Ball, Director, comparetravelinsurance.com.au says:
“People miss flights every day and Australians are among the worst offenders. Many people believe that travel insurance will cover them for a missed flight regardless of reason. Unfortunately this is not the case. Circumstances apply. Speaking from firsthand experience, being stuck in a traffic jam or losing track of time while dilly dallying at the airport is not covered. Travellers need to take responsibility for their time management and airlines need to take responsibility for their service. For everything else, there is travel insurance.”
Travel insurance will only cover you for insured events. These usually entail situations that are out of your control (such as illness, injury, bad weather or a traffic incident), however, your policy won’t cover you for missed flights or connections caused by airlines.
Confused about cover? We clear the air
Even more frustrating than missing your flight is not knowing who to blame. Keep in mind that travel insurance would not cover you if:
- Your delay is caused by your airline. Mechanical faults, delays or overbooking on your flight should all be compensated for by your airline.
- You’ve made a marathon type effort to get to the airport but simply aren’t there on time. Unfortunately, running late is not an insurable event.
- You are offered compensation or an alternative flight by your airline and you decline it.
- You’ve upgraded your flight. A lap in luxury could be highly tempting, but keep in mind that if you miss your flight due to a covered event such as a car accident, your insurer would not pay for a first class or business ticket (if you hadn’t originally booked the upgrade).
The good news: You could be covered
When neither you nor your airline can be blamed for your missed flight you would be covered. You have a claim on your hands if you:
- Miss your flight due to a car, rain, bus or marine accident and cannot get to the airport in time.
- Can’t make your plane due to a natural disaster, severe weather, hijacking, riots or civil unrest. The event must have begun after the insurance policy was issued.
- Are ill or injured and a doctor informs your insurer that you are unfit to get on a plane. You will require this notice to be in writing and the illness or injury in question cannot be due to a pre-existing condition.
What to know before making a claim
Missed your flight and eligible for cover? Don’t forget the following claim requirements.
- Get it down on paper. If you’re the victim of flight cancellation or delay be sure to get any written proof of such events from your airline.
- You may be in rough shape following a traffic accident, but if the incident has prevented you from getting on your plane, do your best to get written evidence of the event from the transport authority in that destination.
- If a medical issue has restricted you from boarding your flight, get your doctor to provide you with a note detailing your health problems.
Make missed flights a distant memory with these handy helpers
Being stuck on the tarmac can be avoided. Try the following tips for a trouble-free take-off:
- Pack smart: Need a last-minute holiday hurrah before returning to reality? Leave yourself plentiful packing time. This can streamline your morning routine and get you moving faster out the door.
- Flight flow: Booking all flights on your trip with the same airline can make your journey a calm, hassle free process. Should you be delayed, your airline will be obliged to get you on the next flight or pay for necessary accommodation.
- Chat time: Does missing your flight look likely? Give your airline a ring. They may be able to get you on a later flight if you’re lucky!
- Safe stopover: Giving yourself less than three hours between connecting flights may give you a buzz, but more sensible travellers will benefit from a longer stopover. A reasonable connection time will lessen your chances of missing your flight.
- Bags-to-go: Sending your luggage all the way through to your final destination will minimise any setbacks and potential delays when trying to make your connections.
Whether you’re an airline veteran or a first time flyer, a missed flight can cause a flurry of frustration. Careful time saving practices along with a good understanding of your travel insurance policy can smooth over any potential holiday hurdles.