Rising ticket costs are far from the only challenge in air travel right now. Staffing shortages, weather events, and other unexpected occurrences can lead to canceled flights. Not only is it inconvenient to reschedule an employee’s travel, but the cancellation can disrupt business schedules, derail plans, and lead to additional costs.
That’s why every corporate travel plan needs a flight cancellation policy
By following the tips in this guide, you will be able to handle flight cancellations with confidence, minimize disruptions, and keep your business on track.
1. Prepare Your Travelers
Telios Travel specializes in corporate travel solutions, and we agree with the saying that “preparation is the best prevention.” To effectively handle flight cancellations, it’s helpful to explore alternative modes of transportation or rerouting options that can still get you to your destination on time in the event of a sudden change.
Consider the time of day you book flights, too. A direct flight in the morning will be much easier to reschedule the same day than an evening flight requiring two layovers.
Most importantly, your travelers should know what to do if a flight is canceled. Make sure there’s a clear chain of command and workflow for approving last-minute changes or cost overruns. What’s the process if a traveler needs help outside of business hours? If you don’t currently partner with a travel management company offering 24/7 support, travelers will need another system to obtain timely approvals. What to do in the event of a cancellation should be a clear header in your corporate travel flight policy.
2. Use Travel Management Software
Of course, if there is no dedicated travel manager to contact, travelers need the autonomy to make their own arrangements for handling the flight cancellation. A travel management software such as SAP Concur can help travelers record and expense their new flights, hotel stay, or alternative transportation without needing a central agent to do it for them.
That said, your documents should still outline what is and is not an acceptable claim for reimbursement when travel is unexpectedly extended. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is having too loose of a travel and expense policy. In an emergency situation, travelers may make snap decisions to expedite their trip home and fail to seek discounted rates or work with preferred vendors. When cancellations happen at a large scale, you need a plan to control costs.
3. Understand the Airline’s Policies
Most airlines will offer to rebook passengers when a flight is canceled, but the logistics can be a little complicated for your finance team to figure out later. Airlines are legally required to issue refunds for flight cancellations, even for non-refundable tickets, but each airline handles that process differently. If the airline starts by offering a voucher, credit, or reassignment to a different flight, it’s important to know your rights and how to request a cash refund instead.
Keep in mind that a delay is not classified in the same way as a cancellation, even if that delay results in a traveler missing a connecting flight. Airline customer service agents can be notoriously difficult to get in touch with during times of high call volumes, which is another reason that working with a business travel consultant can assist with navigating difficult situations. Telios Travel helps you understand airline policies to make informed, cost-saving decisions.
4. Consider Trip Insurance
When it comes to effective tips for handling flight cancellations, investing in trip insurance can be a smart move. Trip insurance policies often cover cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness or weather events, offering financial protection against losses. For companies that frequently send employees on business trips, insurance can limit financial liability and help recoup costs.
5. Know What to Do After Canceling
You may find that the flight cancellation left your employees with future credits or other compensation from the airline, and your corporate travel policy should address what to do in this situation. For large corporations, visibility into travel spending is vital to make sure these credits don’t go unclaimed and that any additional expenses incurred during the delay are tracked correctly.
6. Debrief and Learn from the Situation
You will likely need to handle a flight cancellation again in the future, so one tip for improving your process is to learn from every experience. Ask your employees about how supported they felt, what worked best, and what frustrations they encountered. While it’s true that most cancellations are out of your control, your company’s response to unforeseen circumstances should be consistent, well-understood, and updated on a regular basis.
Find Support with Telios Travel
Flight cancellations can be a challenging experience for any corporate travel program, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact on your travel plans. We understand the importance of smooth and seamless business travel, and our dedicated travel managers and 24/7 support team are available to assist you in navigating any travel disruptions. Our advisors help your employees get back on track as quickly and efficiently as possible after an unexpected delay.
Telios Travel works with organizations of all sizes to craft intelligent travel management plans and highly effective policies. Not only can we help you handle flight cancellations with ease, but we can analyze and reduce your travel spend while creating a more agile travel management system. To see a demonstration of our data-driven travel solutions, contact us now.