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For those who frequently travel by plane on holiday or business trips, you’ve probably experienced firsthand the frequency with which airlines tend to delay flights. Delays in schedule aren’t usually a big deal; however, sometimes a delayed flight can become a jarring experience when the waiting time becomes too extended, giving rise to many unexpected added costs.

Usually a delay of a few hours means that you’ll just spend some extra time at the airport lounge but, what happens when the delay lasts for hours, or even days?

As a solo traveler, the extra costs of staying an additional night outside of Singapore might not seem like much, but as a traveling family, this is a whole different story, as you may find yourself with a sudden spike in expenses that were never budgeted for.

What are travelers usually entitled to when their flight is delayed by an airline?

The compensation or care given by the airline will depend on the ticket’s term and conditions, and company policies. While some airlines may be quick to offer you monetary compensation, or meal and overnight hotel accommodations as per their customer service policies, others may simply offer you the chance for a reimbursement after filing your claim with the required documentation and receipts, as long as the costs of meal and hotel accommodations are deemed reasonable.

Finally, some airlines may simply offer you no compensation or accommodation at all. Since airlines cannot fully guarantee delay free schedules, they aren’t particularly obligated to compensate customers for delayed flights. Even then, you can always make a claim under the Montreal Convention; although, there is a large chance that your case will be put on hold for a long period of time.

However, if you happen to be travelling from:

  • Singapore to an EU country, on a European Union based airline
  • The European Union towards Singapore

When the flight is delayed, then you will be protected by EU flight regulations and are entitled by EU law to a compensation of up to 600 under the Denied Boarding Regulation after a 3-4 hour delay, depending on the distance of the flight, as well as refreshments, meals, phone calls, emails and hotel accommodations if the delay extends itself overnight.

As a traveler from Singapore, what am I entitled to by local airlines?

Although the previous outlook may seem somewhat grim, the good news is that most Asian airlines, including Singapore’s Flag Carrier - Singapore Airlines usually provide under their customer service policies, within what may be considered reasonable, free refreshments and meals to their delayed customers in the form of meal allowances, and if the delay is expected to last overnight, free hotel accommodations and transport.

Keep in mind that these accommodations will only be made available by Singapore Airlines (and Asian airlines in general) if the delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control such as technical problems, underbooking or a late/understaffed crew.

Accommodations may not apply if the reason behind the delay was by force majeure such as:

• Natural disasters

• Bad flight weather

• Political or civil unrest

• Safety risk precautions taken by a regulating entity

• Security issues such as war or acts of terrorism

So, before signing up, remember to always read the airline’s policies regarding delayed flights, and always keep your receipts if your flight happens to be delayed.

Can I take this up with my travel insurance company?

Yes, travel insurance coverage in SIngapore will usually protect you against delayed flights. Single trip insurance will protect you on your way back from your journey, while multi-trip insurance should protect you from delays occurring within any of the trips that you’ll be taking under that policy.

After a minimum amount of hours of flight delay has been reached (usually 6-12 hours), you will be eligible for reimbursement by your travel insurance policy.

Insurance coverage usually assigns you a daily limit per person, meaning that if you’re travelling as a family, every person under the policy will be assigned a set amount per day of delay until the policy limit has been reached.

Keep in mind that under Singapore travel insurance coverage, outbound flights from Singapore might not be covered, as well as strikes that were scheduled during the time of your departure.

How do I make a delayed flight claim to my travel insurance?

  1. First of all you’ll need to gather all your flight details such as flight itinerary, boarding pass, and passport stamps.
  2. Afterwards, you’ll need a document or report issued by your airline confirming the flight delay, cause and the amount of time it is expected to last.
  3. Contact your travel insurance company through their customer hotline to let them know of the situation so they can forward you any more relevant documentation or forms.
  4. You can also contact them after you’ve arrived home; however, the sooner you contact them, the better.
  5. Send them your flight info as well as the airline’s delay report. Make sure to back up your expenses with receipts.