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What to do in case of travel disruption

Posted on January 2, 2024 by Vikki Measures

The last thing you want to see when you have a holiday coming up is news of travel delays, natural disasters or cancellations. It can be very stressful and you may be left feeling confused about what to do.

If you’re planning a trip over the coming weeks, read on to find out what to do if your holiday is facing travel disruption from strikes or natural disasters.

What if my flight or international train is cancelled?

If your flight or international train (such as Eurostar) has been cancelled, you’ll need to contact your travel operator, travel provider or airline. They should help you to return home if you’re already abroad, or rearrange your trip if you’re yet to travel. 

If you rearrange your trip, you’ll need to update your travel insurance policy. If you’re a Staysure customer, you can log in to your My Staysure account to do this yourself – plus there’s no admin fee!

Remember, you can only make changes to your policy before you’re meant to travel.

What if my travel provider can’t help?

If you’ve reached out to your travel provider but they’re unable to help you reschedule or give you a refund, your bank may be able to help. If you’ve paid for your trip using a credit card, you might be able to recoup your costs through a ‘chargeback claim’.

In the event that your travel supplier nor your bank can offer assistance, you can make a claim on your travel insurance

Woman collects her belongings after checks at airport security

Can I claim for unused accommodation and excursions if my flight or international train was cancelled?

If your flight or international train is cancelled, and you booked your accommodation and excursions separately, you’ll need to ask your travel provider for a refund, or to move your booking.

If you’ve been offered different holiday dates or credit/vouchers by your travel provider, you won’t be able to claim for this on your travel insurance.

If your booking is non-refundable, you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance.

What can I do if my flight is delayed?

If your flight is ‘significantly delayed’, under UK law, your flight provider needs to offer you care and assistance.

The level of support or compensation you receive will vary depending on how long you’ve been waiting, and how far you’re travelling. Find out if you’re eligible for support or compensation on the CAA website.

If your flight is significantly delayed, your flight provider must provide:

  • Food and drink – often given in vouchers
  • The opportunity to call people if needed – often by refunding the cost of your calls
  • Accommodation if your flight is delayed overnight
  • Transport to and from accommodation, or home if you’re close enough

If the airline is not able to offer you this due to staff shortages, then you should be able to make a claim for reasonable costs. Check your airline’s policy on what they deem as reasonable costs.

You might also be able to claim some compensation from your travel insurance if your flight is significantly delayed. Take a look at the ‘Travel Delay” section of your Staysure policy wording to see what you’re covered for.

If your flight is delayed on your return journey back to the UK, your Staysure policy will automatically extend to cover the additional time you take to get home.

How do I cancel my accommodation?

If your flight or international train is cancelled and you need to cancel your accommodation booking, you’ll need to ask for a refund from your travel provider.

If your booking is non-refundable, you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance. For more information on making a claim, visit our claims page.

Will I be covered for cancelling my holiday?

If your holiday is cancelled by the airline or tour operator, they should provide you with a full refund or rebook your trip.

If you decide you do not want to travel, you would need to speak to your travel provider to see if you’re able to cancel your trip. There is no automatic right to a refund, and change of mind is not covered by your Staysure travel insurance policy.

Group of people standing at boarding gate.

What happens if there’s strike action? 

Strikes at airports and ports can cause travel delays and longer waiting times, which may affect your holiday. 

Before you travel, make sure you check with your travel provider for any updates and allow extra time for your journey. 

  • Follow your airline’s guidance on when you should arrive at the airport. This is usually two hours for a short-haul flight, or three hours for a long-haul flight.
  • Check for planned roadworks and traffic before setting off for the airport.
  • For live flight updates, keep an eye on the airport’s website.
  • If you’re travelling by train, plan ahead and check the latest travel advice with National Rail Enquiries. You can generally use your ticket for travel on days either side of the strike days, or you can get a refund. 

You can find out more about your rights if your travel plans are disrupted by strikes in our blog. 

What happens if there’s a terrorist incident?

Update 28/12/23: The FCDO have advised against all and all but essential travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and against all travel to some locations. You will not be covered by your Staysure travel insurance policy if you still choose to travel.

Visit the FCDO website for the latest information and advice.

Terrorist incidents when you’re abroad
If you are abroad and there has been a terrorist incident at your destination, reach out to your airline or travel provider as a first step. They will support you and arrange travel options to return home if necessary. You can also find advice on the FCDO website.

Terrorist incidents when you’re about to travel
If you are due to travel to an area where the FCDO have advised against all, or all but essential travel due to terrorism contact your airline or travel provider. They will let you know if you can rearrange your trip or they may offer you a refund.

If you rearrange your trip, you can update your travel insurance policy. If you’re a Staysure customer, you can log in to your My Staysure account. You can only make changes to your policy before you’re meant to travel.

What happens if there’s a natural disaster?

Update 02/01/2024: A series of earthquakes hit the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan on 1 January 2024. This caused a tsunami, several fires and infrastructure damage. Further aftershocks are a possibility and transport links are disrupted. If you are in the affected areas, please follow the instructions from the local authorities.

Visit the FCDO website for the latest information and advice.

Natural disasters when you’re abroad
If you are abroad and there has been a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami, reach out to your airline, tour operator or travel provider as a first step. They will be able to offer assistance with getting you home or moving you to alternative accommodation. You can find the most up to date advice on the FCDO website.

Natural disasters when you’re about to travel
If you are due to travel to an affected area and you’d like to change your holiday travel dates, you should contact your travel provider. They will let you know if you can rearrange your trip or they may be able to offer you a refund.

If you rearrange your trip, you can update your travel insurance policy. If you’re a Staysure customer, you can log in to your My Staysure account. You can only make changes to your policy before you’re meant to travel.

Can travel insurance protect me against travel disruption?

If you need to cancel your trip due to travel disruption, you’ll need to contact your travel provider first. Your travel provider may be able to offer you a full refund, or help you to make new travel arrangements. 

If your travel provider is unable to offer you a full refund, or rebook your holiday, you may be able to claim back the costs of your trip using your holiday insurance.

If you’re a Staysure customer, you can find out more information on our claims page. You can also find out more about adding travel disruption to your insurance policy for extra peace of mind.

If you’re able to rebook your holiday, we can help by moving the travel dates on your single trip policy. We can move your policy start date as long as it falls within 18 months from the date you bought your policy. There is no admin fee when you update your policy online, but there may be a charge for changes to your policy.

You can also find out more about what travel inurance covers.

by Vikki Measures

Vikki Measures is Staysure's Senior Content Executive. She is a passionate travel writer and loves exploring new destinations, experiencing the local cuisine, and sharing top travel tips.