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British Airways passengers urged to check their travel insurance

16th December 2009 Print

British Airways cabin crew have voted to take strike action over the Christmas break. As a result anyone traveling on British Airways between the 22nd of December and the 2nd of January may see their travel plans severely disrupted.

Whilst the delayed departure or abandonment cover offered by many travel insurance policies can never fully compensate you for spending time in the departure lounge when you could be on the piste, on the beach or with your loved ones, making a claim on your travel insurance may at least compensate you for the cost of having to delay or cancel your trip.

However, according to research by leading insurance comparison website, the delayed departure and holiday abandonment cover offered by travel insurers can vary greatly and some are more generous, and more useful, than others.

For example, although AIG Direct's Platinum cover will allow you to claim a maximum of £500 per insured person for a delayed departure, you would have to be delayed for 25 days in order to claim the maximum allowable. That's slightly better than AIG Direct's Silver cover which has no departure delay cover at all.

More useful cover is offered by American Express, which allows you to claim £20 per insured person once you've been delayed for just six hours and then an additional £20 for each further 12 hour delay, up to a maximum of £200 per person. It would take a delay of 4.75 days to claim the maximum £200 allowable from American Express. Virgin's ‘Gold' travel insurance pays out £40 after a 12 hour delay and another £20 for each subsequent 12 hour period, up to a maximum of £400. However, Virgin's entry level ‘Red' cover has no delayed departure cover.

Endsleigh's ‘Essential' travel cover will allow you to claim for up to £5000 of unused and irrecoverable travel and accommodation costs once a 12 hour delay has elapsed.

Lee Griffin, business development director of, said: "It's always innocent passengers who are affected most when airline staff take industrial action. Although having travel insurance won't guarantee your flight takes off on time many policies do offer useful cover for delays and some even give you the option to completely abandon your trip if the delay is more than 12 hours.

"If you're stuck in the departure lounge for longer than you'd planned you may need to buy extra food and drink and delay cover can help to meet the costs of these unplanned expenses. In the worst cases you may decide to abandon your holiday altogether but it's always worth checking the wording of your policy to make sure under what circumstances you can reclaim the cost of your trip. The AIG Direct Silver policy doesn't cover you for a delayed departure or abandoning your holiday so if you're stuck waiting for a BA flight with that policy you'll have no choice but to sit out the delays or wave goodbye to what you've spent on your holiday.

"In all cases check the terms of your insurance carefully and get official confirmation of the length of the delay and the reason for it from your travel operator or airline as your insurers will need to see proof when you submit your claim."