Travel insurance experts weigh in on airline chaos, urge passengers to take precaution

Posted at 9:01 AM, Jan 12, 2023

CLEVELAND — The travel headaches continue after flights across the country were grounded because of an FAA system outage.

More than 8,000 flights were delayed and more than 1,100 were canceled. Some passengers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport told News 5 that their flights were delayed a few hours, but others were not as lucky. Experts say it may take more than a day in some cases for airlines to get their flights back in order.

Aside from outdated systems and flat-out system failures, we’re told with ongoing staffing shortages and reduced flights, the recent travel chaos was bound to happen.

“Over the last few years, it's been worse than ever, as you can imagine,” said Suzanne Morrow, Senior VP of InsureMyTrip.

Morrow says the reoccurring travel chaos gives more reason for travelers to wise up and secure travel plans. Though the added cost may be a hassle, Morrow says it is almost always worth it when faced with unforeseen circumstances and navigating reimbursement loopholes in airline policies.

“Some of it comes down to, of course, fine print. So, know what you're buying [and] know what you're worried about being covered for," Morrow said.

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 16,000 flights between December 21 and December 31. However, according to the Department of Transportation, the agency is acting on thousands of complaints related to the airline’s holiday travel meltdown, including complaints that the airline is not making good on its pledge to issue refunds. The DOT is giving the airline 60 days to respond.

“Unfortunately, the folks that are already on their trip are kind of at the mercy of whatever the airlines are going to do based on these delays," Morrow said.

According to InsureMyTrip, if your flight is delayed or canceled and causes you to lose out on a portion of your vacation like accommodations, tours, or events, travel insurance can cover the prepaid non-refundable expenses of your entire trip, not just the airfare.

“A lot of this comes down to what are people really worried about when they're going to travel. Then you can determine what sort of insurance can help alleviate those concerns, Morrow said.