Travel delays come in all shapes and sizes, and should probably have some sort of Richter scale to measure their magnitude:
“My connecting flight landed 30 minutes late, but it was only a 2.4 delay. I did a full-on sprint and made it with seconds to spare! Only a few glares from other passengers, no problem.”
Then there are the more serious delays – an hour or two wandering the Duty Free aisles could be a 3.0 if you miss a meeting on the other side, but a few more hours sleeping on uncomfortable airport benches would register at 4.7. Having to arrange overnight accommodation at the last minute is probably around a 6.2, depending on what you find… As the magnitude increases, so do discomfort, inconvenience, and costs.
A conservative estimate for a family of four’s overnight delay adds up to £550 or more.
That won’t apply if the delay is caused by external circumstances though, which is where your travel insurance should kick in.
EEC regulations state that an airline travelling to or departing from the EU is responsible for compensation if they are the cause of a cancellation, a delay of more than three hours in most cases, or a delay of more than two hours if the flight distance is less than 932 miles. (You can read the full details of what you’re entitled to on our sister blog, OneStop4 here.)
You’ve read the policy wording of course… So you know about common exclusions like terrorism? No?
Many travel insurance policies do not cover terrorism at all, or only cover medical expenses and personal accident (death or permanent disablement). You need specialised cover to fill the gaps.
An unpleasant wake-up call
Until fairly recently, nobody gave terrorism much thought. While it is still relatively rare and chances of being injured or killed in an act of terrorism are minute, one incident sends shockwaves around the world, and can affect thousands of people.
When a bomb exploded on board a Russian Airbus shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh on 31 October 2015, the tragedy measured between 9 and 10 in shock and disruption. No doubt the terrorists’ objective was not only the 224 deaths caused by the crash, but widespread fear and panic. That reached around the world, including between 20 000 and 22 000 British travellers who were stranded in Sharm when all flights were suspended. It also affected thousands more who were planning on travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh in the forthcoming weeks.
Uncertainty and mounting costs followed, with cancelled flights, unexpected days away from home and work, and the scramble to secure seats once evacuation flights began. Some of the last emergency flights are reported to have left on 17 November, more than two weeks after the incident.
Who paid for all of it? In many cases, it was up to the goodwill of hotels and airlines, but that certainly can’t be guaranteed, as even one incident can cost those organisations a fortune.
That’s why we decided to create Safe Journey: an entirely new insurance product for UK travellers, which provides specialised terrorism travel insurance.
Hopefully, you won’t encounter any delays – or at least none that last more than a couple of hours – but here are a few tips to decrease your stress levels and expenses during those times:
- Keep cash handy at all times – pounds and local currency – and make sure your debit or credit card has available funds
- Keep receipts of all purchases made during the delay
- Pack a spare t-shirt and underwear into your hand luggage
- Mobile charger too!
- If you take daily medication, try to carry enough for an extra few days in your handbag or camera bag if this is practical and not too heavy to carry around.
- If you wear disposable contact lenses, make sure you have spares and that your specs are easy to get to.
- Upgrade your travel insurance with Safe Journey. (You didn’t think we were going to leave that out, did you?)
Keeping It Real
Safe Journey was created by people who are passionate about travel… We’re aware of risks and possibilities but we keep them in perspective, make informed choices, and refuse to stay home.
We designed Safe Journey in such a way that it can be added onto any travel insurance policy, providing comprehensive cover for terrorism on top of the cover you have with your main travel policy.
It’s simple and affordable – for example £4.96 per person for anything up to 8 days. It provides complete peace of mind in case you do encounter delays due to terrorism, covering things like medical expenses, emergency accommodation, loss of personal property or withdrawal of services. It’ll even cover disinclination to travel if there’s an act of terrorism within 40 miles of your destination, up to 42 days before your departure. Please note that this is a summary only. For full terms, conditions, complaint procedures and exclusions, please see our FAQs or Policy Wording.
We can’t change the past or predict the future, but we can be prepared for delays and whatever else life throws our way, so that every trip is a Safe Journey.