Nobody wants to hear their flight is canceled while on or heading out on a business trip. This is especially true when a video conference call can't replace the event you’re meant to be at. And while you might not receive compensation for lost business revenue, there is a possibility to recoup your travel costs and any incidental expenses.
When the unexpected happens on a business trip, here are a few steps you can take to get help.
Check with your airline first
The first step is checking with the airline to see what they can offer. Each airline has different cancellation policies. If you haven't started your trip yet, visit the airline website to assess your options. You should also call the airline as soon as possible to discuss next steps.
If your flight is canceled, the airline might offer the following remedies:
- Rebook you on an alternate flight
- Provide food and lodging vouchers for extended delays
- Receive a travel credit for a future flight
If you're already at the airport when your flight gets canceled, your best option can be talking to the terminal airline service representative. If there's a long line, you can try calling the customer service hotline or checking the airline’s app.
Tip: Remember that you can access your flight itinerary and airline contact information right in the TripIt app. You can also consult the Alternate Flights feature to help you figure out what your options are for getting on a different flight.
Use credit card travel protection
If you're a small business owner, you have the liberty of choosing which business credit card you use to book your flight. Thanks to travel protection benefits, the credit card you used to book your flight can be your best friend during this stressful time.
If you’re a corporate credit card holder, you can also look into what kind of relief plans are provided. Some cards will offer protection in these circumstances.
Like airlines, each credit card has different travel protection policies. For example, your flight will need to be delayed a certain number of hours under a covered reason for travel protection benefits to apply. Also, be prepared to submit supporting documentation to prove the flight delay reason and your non-refundable travel expenses.
Get business travel insurance
Likewise, if you're a small business traveler, another flexible backstop to consider is business travel insurance. When the airline and credit card company won't reimburse your travel expenses, this standalone policy can pay for itself several times over. Call the travel insurance provider hotline for help when your flight gets canceled.
If you're a corporate traveler, check with your company before purchasing any additional travel insurance. It's likely they already have some and most won't reimburse for additional protection.
Know your passenger rights
You should also familiarize yourself with the U.S. Department of Transportation Fly Rights. These passenger rights help provide a basic outline of what your alternate options are. Of course, each airline still has their own policy you must follow too.
Supplemental reading: TripIt Adds New Enhancements for Navigating Travel Based on Your Vaccination Status
Avoid mixed carrier flights
You have more bargaining power when your connecting flights are impacted by a canceled flight on the same carrier. The carrier who cancels the flight can either put you on a partner flight or another carrier-operated flight. If you need to file a travel protection claim, only having to deal with one carrier can make the compensation process easier, too.
Remember to adjust your other travel bookings accordingly
A flight is oftentimes just one of the many parts of a business trip. Meaning, a canceled flight might impact when you can pick up your rental car, when you can check into your hotel, and so on. Once you’ve handled rebooking your flight (or made other plans for getting to your destination), be sure to adjust your other reservations, as needed.
For example, if you needed to show a negative COVID-19 test result for a test taken within 72 hours of arrival (or you booked one for when you would arrive), to confirm if you would need to take another test or rebook your appointment.
Tip: Consult Interactive Maps to find COVID testing sites in the airports you’re traveling through. Also, if you don’t utilize inbox sync, be sure to also forward your rescheduled or newly-booked plans to TripIt, so that you (and your travel admin) have the most up to date information for your trip right in the app.
With these tips, you can get your business trip back on track—and be better prepared for the next time your flight plans change unexpectedly, too.