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The Cost of Increased Flight Delays & Cancellations: How Travel Insurance Can Help

This year, the increase in flight delays and cancellations around the world has caused a more chaotic experience for many travelers.

By Megan Grubbs | Oct 28, 2022, 09:57 AM

Editor’s Note: This article was written in 2022. While this article contains information on how travel insurance can help with flight delays and cancellations that is still relevant today, please note the statistics and trends are from 2022, not the current year.

This year, the increase in flight delays and cancellations around the world has caused a more chaotic experience for many travelers. According to airline tracking service FlightAware, in the United States alone, there have been about 146,000 flights cancelled between January and August 2022, about 11% higher than pre-pandemic numbers in 2019. Flight delays have also become more common with nearly 1.3 million delays between January and August 2022.

Why the Increase in Delays & Cancellations?

After two years of uncertainty, many travelers who cancelled trips or stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic have since been booking their long overdue vacations as countries around the world are once again accepting international visitors. With this increase in demand, thousands of additional flights were scheduled by major airlines, which then resulted in a major staffing shortage to service these flights. In recent months, while many airlines have hired additional staff, including pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics, this has created new obstacles such as training more or larger groups, which takes time to bring the new workers up to speed with the pre-pandemic teams.

Staffing shortages aren’t the only reason behind these cancellations and delays, though. Other factors include air traffic congestion, COVID-19 outbreaks, and the ever-present inclement weather. In the U.S., air traffic control is responsible for safe plane departure and arrival, so if there are too many scheduled flights, it can be difficult to get planes out on time or get them into the air at all. Staff members and pilots who contract COVID-19 will need to miss work for several days, which could also result in a delay or cancellation of their scheduled flight. And when it comes to weather delays or cancellations, no one has control over mother nature.

What Should You Do When Planning Your Next Trip?

If you're on the receiving end of a flight delay or cancellation, it can come with increased travel costs, stress, and potentially missing scheduled activities on your trip. While many airlines will work hard to "make right" these unexpected hiccups, not every company has the same policies in place to protect consumers' investments. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently launched a customer service dashboard that helps travelers see what kinds of guarantees, refunds, or compensation the major domestic airlines offer if a flight is delayed or cancelled due to controllable circumstances. This gives travelers the opportunity to compare commitments offered by each airline.

This dashboard can help flyers decide which airline to choose, and which airlines guarantee certain refunds/compensation for delays and cancellations. Furthermore, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, any non-refundable activities or events most likely will not be covered by your airline. This is where IMG comes in.

IMG’s iTravelInsured plans provide varying levels of coverage for trip cancellation, baggage delay, trip interruption, accident and sickness medical benefits, and many other travel-related events and expenses. All plans include trip cancellation coverage which can cover up to 100% of prepaid non-refundable insured trip costs and provide some trip delay benefit. These plans were designed to protect you from financial losses resulting from many mishaps that may happen before or during your trip, including several situations where your airline may not provide assistance. Travel insurance can help you navigate the uncertainty around flight status and ease your mind while embarking on your next trip.

The iTravel Insured Lite, SE, LX, and GT plans contain travel insurance underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. This website contains highlights of the plans developed by International Medical Group, which include travel insurance coverages underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, Principal Office located in Morristown, New Jersey, under form series T7000 et al, T210 et al and TP-401 et al, and non-insurance Travel Assistance Services provided by International Medical Group. The terms of insurance coverages in the plans may vary by jurisdiction and not all insurance coverages are available in all jurisdictions. Insurance coverages in these plans are subject to terms, limitations and exclusions including an exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions. In most states, your travel retailer is not a licensed insurance producer/agent, and is not qualified or authorized to answer technical questions about the terms, benefits, exclusions and conditions of the insurance offered or to evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance coverage. Your travel retailer may be compensated for the purchase of a plan and may provide general information about the plans offered, including a description of the coverage and price. The purchase of travel insurance is not required in order to purchase any other product or service from your travel retailer. CA DOI toll free number is 800-927-4357. The cost of your plan is for the entire plan, which consists of both insurance and non-insurance components. Individuals looking to obtain additional information regarding the features and pricing of each travel plan component, please contact International Medical Group 9200 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis, IN 46240 USA. +1(317) 655-9796. CA Non-Resident Producer License No. 0F17093. While International Medical Group markets the travel insurance in these plans on behalf of USF, non-insurance components of the plans were added to the plans by International Medical Group, and International Medical Group does not receive compensation from USF for providing the non-insurance components of the plans.

This blog contains reference to websites for the following companies, which are not affiliated with IMG or United States Fire Insurance Company: FlightAware.

Through this website and our social media updates, we are providing content, hyperlinks and references to information and articles, some of which has been created by third parties ("third-party content"). International Medical Group, Inc. and its parents, subsidiaries and affiliates ("IMG") neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information, statement, opinion or advice within this third-party content. It is the responsibility of every user to evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness or usefulness of any information, statement, opinion or advice within the third-party content. Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, statement, opinion, or advice within the third-party content. Any concerns regarding such third-party content should be directed to the third-party. You acknowledge that under no circumstances will IMG be liable for any loss or damage caused by reliance on this third-party content.