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What to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled

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As British travellers, we eagerly embark on our adventures with visions of new horizons and exciting experiences. However, the reality is that sometimes our journeys can be disrupted by unexpected flight cancellations or delays.

These unwelcome surprises can throw our meticulously planned itineraries into disarray and leave us feeling frustrated and helpless. However, armed with the right knowledge and recourse, we can navigate these situations with confidence and ease. One essential aspect that can come to our rescue in such times is travel insurance.

A travel insurance policy tailored to our needs provides us with invaluable protection and support, particularly when unforeseen events arise. From lost luggage to medical emergencies, travel insurance safeguards us against financial burdens and ensures a smoother journey. Crucially, it can also offer specific provisions to cover flight cancellations or delays, helping us regain control of our travel plans. So, let's dive in and learn how to navigate flight delays and cancellations like a pro!

Step 1: Stay calm and gather information

Take a deep breath and try not to panic. Flight disruptions happen, and you'll get through this.

  • Check the airport screens (if you’re already there) or your airline's mobile app for real-time updates on your flight status.
  • If you can't find any information, head to the airline's customer service desk or call their helpline. Get up to speed and stay informed.

Step 2: Know your rights

  • Airlines operating in the United Kingdom are bound by various regulations, including the European Union's Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, commonly known as EU261.
  • This regulation still applies despite Brexit and outlines the rights of air passengers in the event of flight disruptions, empowering us with clear entitlements and potential compensation.
  • According to this regulation, you may be entitled to compensation, care, and assistance depending on the circumstances of your delay or cancellation.
  • Compensation amounts can vary based on the length of the delay, distance of the flight, and whether the disruption was within the airline's control.

Step 3: Seek compensation and assistance

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than three hours, and the airline is responsible for the disruption, you may be entitled to compensation.
  • Approach the airline's customer service desk and request the necessary forms to file a claim for compensation. Alternatively, you can request a refund form online through the airline’s website.
  • Be sure to collect any relevant documentation, such as boarding passes and receipts for additional expenses incurred due to the delay or cancellation.

Step 4: Make alternate arrangements

  • Your airline is legally bound to provide you with alternative travel arrangements in the event of a cancellation.
  • Depending on the length of the delay or cancellation, you might need to make new travel arrangements.
  • If your flight is delayed overnight or cancelled, the airline should provide you with accommodation, meals, and transportation if needed.
  • If the airline doesn't provide these services, keep all receipts and consider claiming these expenses as part of your compensation (from the airline).

Step 5: Document everything

  • Keep a record of all communication with the airline, including names, dates, and times of conversations or emails.
  • Take photos or screenshots of any relevant information, such as flight status screens or announcements.
  • These records will be valuable if you need to escalate your claim or seek legal advice.

Step 6: Check your travel insurance

Travel insurance may be able to step in where your airline falls short. Here are some situations where travel insurance may be able to provide some relief.

  • If an airline refused to provide meal or lodging vouchers, you may be able to claim for reimbursement of those expenses after a delay of 12 or more hours.
  • If your delayed or cancelled flight caused you to miss pre-paid accommodation or tours, you may be able to claim reimbursement for those unused, pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs.
  • If you’re stuck overnight and your airline can’t deliver your checked baggage for more than 24 hours, you can claim for reimbursement of essential toiletries and a change of clothes under your baggage insurance benefits.

World Nomads offers a Standard Plan and an Explorer Plan, which have different per-day and maximum benefit limits. Read your chosen plan thoroughly to understand the benefit limits. Read your chosen plan thoroughly to understand the benefit limits.

What's excluded?

Travel insurance isn’t designed to cover everything. Exclusions include, but are not limited to:

  • You running late, getting stuck in traffic or a long security line, and missing your flight.
  • Purchase of a new flight because you didn’t want to wait to be rebooked by your airline.
  • Luxury hotel suites and the most expensive thing on the menu. Travel insurance is meant to cover reasonable out-of-pocket expenses if you’re delayed.
  • Flight delays of less than 12hours.
  • Baggage delays of less than 24 hours.
  • Expenses that have been reimbursed by your airline.

Experiencing a flight delay or cancellation can be frustrating, but knowing your rights and taking the appropriate steps can make the situation more manageable. Stay calm, gather information, seek compensation, and document everything. By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared to navigate flight disruptions like a seasoned traveller. 

This is only a summary of coverage and does not include the full terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions of the policy. You should read your PDS in full, so you understand what is and isn’t covered. If you are unsure about your level of travel coverage, please contact us for help.

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you

Trip Cancellation

Protect your trip from unexpected cancellation.

  • Explorer Plan: £5,000
  • Standard Plan: £3,000
Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalised?
  • Travel buddy unfit to travel?
  • Close relative suddenly dies?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Abroad Medical Expenses

Take the pain out of medical costs while traveling abroad.

  • Explorer Plan: £10 million
  • Standard Plan: £5 million
Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Transport

Expenses included in Emergency Medical limits.

Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medivac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Cover your lost, stolen or damaged gear and tech.

  • Explorer Plan: £2,000
  • Standard Plan: £1,000
Protect your gear
  • Passport or tech stolen?
  • Airline lost your gear?
  • Bags delayed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Baggage & Personal Belongings
  • Cancellation
  • Trip Curtailment
  • Personal Accident
  • Loss of Passport or travel documents
  • Personal Liability
  • Legal Expenses (Personal Liability)
This is a general summary for United Kingdom residents only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Check the plan documents for full details.
Pre-existing medical conditions

World Nomads policies cannot cover claims due to Pre-Existing Medical Conditions (PEMC), regardless of whether the condition is serious or not (this includes if you're on separate or joint policies). You can still purchase a World Nomads policy, but the PEMC exclusion is not removable. 

For travel insurance providers that offer cover on PEMC, visit the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) Money Helper website, or call 0800 138 7777. BIBA's (The British Insurance Brokers' Association) Find Insurance Service offers information on serious PEMCs and travel insurance providers that may cover these conditions. You can also contact them on 0370 950 1790.

24/7 emergency assistance

If you need medical assistance or emergency medical evacuation our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year before and during your trip.

Wherever you are, we’re here 24/7 to help you in any emergency.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

For policies purchased on or after 1 September 2021:
+44 (0) 2030931750 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)

For policies purchased before 1 September 2021:
Phone: +353 21 237 8005 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)
Phone: +61 2 8263 0470 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)

Contact the team

Travel insurance. Simple & flexible.

Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.