Steps to Take if Your Flight is Cancelled or Delayed Image

Steps to take if your flight is cancelled or delayed

Have you ever found yourself at the airport ready to set off on your big adventure, only to find that your flight has been delayed or even cancelled? When this happens its important to know what steps to take next. Here we outline these steps to assist with making your next adventure as straightforward as possible.

It is important to be aware that a travel delay must be at least six hours to meet the criteria for all COTA travel insurance policies. If you know that as a result of the flight delay or cancellation you will be at the airport for more than six hours you should contact the airline carrier or tour operator in the first instance to seek a refund, credit, or some form of financial compensation or arrangement specific to your needs.


Step 1: Identify the reason for the flight delay or cancellation 

If you think it could be more than just a short period of time (at least six hours), it’s worth finding out some information which can help if you need to make a claim, or claim compensation or a refund against the airline:

  • How long the delay will be; and
  • What is the reason for the delay.


Step 2: Be sure to get it in writing

You should ask the airline service desk to provide written evidence of why the flight was delayed or cancelled. COTA travel insurance covers certain events, so you’ll need to show it was one of these for any claim to be successful. If it’s because of bad weather, then ask them to put that in writing for you.


Step 3: Get a refund or get the carrier to reschedule your flight

If you have been left out of pocket or incurred expenses because of the delay, then you MUST seek compensation in the first instance. This should be through rearranging or rescheduling your plans, or a refund from the airline or scheduled public transport providers. If you decide to make a claim for any costs you’ve incurred, then you’ll need evidence you tried to get a refund first (make sure you keep all those receipts and documents). If you don’t have evidence, it may delay any claim you make.

Remember: In Australia you have rights under consumer protection legislation called the consumer guarantee in certain circumstances if your flight is delayed or cancelled. These are enshrined in the Montreal Convention which applies to residents from many countries. You must accept any reasonable alternative options offered by the provider.  


Step 4:  Make sure you keep all your documents

If you’re still out of pocket after contacting your airline or travel provider for compensation, you can make a claim under your COTA travel insurance.  We will consider all the information available to us and make a decision on your claim


What is not covered?

Travel insurance is not designed to cover everything, so take the time to read the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Here and the main things that aren’t covered:

  • Where you have made a claim for the same costs under any other section of the policy or if you have been offered a refund or have been reimbursed by the airline carrier or other tour operator.
  • A loss arising from the cancellation, delay or rescheduling of your scheduled public transport on the part of the carrier for operational reasons, mechanical breakdown or maintenance. This exclusion does not apply to the Travel delay section or the ‘Missed connection – special events’ section.
  • If your airline offers you an alternative flight/transport, you are expected to take it, otherwise your cover may also be limited.
  • Any reason for the delay or missed flight not listed as a covered event, e.g. you missed your fight because of heavy traffic on the way to the airport.
  • A loss arising from a change of mind, disinclination or reluctance to travel.
  • A loss arising from travelling to, planning to travel to, or choosing to remain in a country or region that is the subject of a ‘Do not travel’ warning issued by the Australian Government (see
  • Delays caused by expected and foreseen events that have been widely covered by the media and through official government channels.
  • Costs that are unnecessary
  • Expenses that are covered by your carrier.


Need travel insurance? Contact COTA Travel Insurance today to get a quote for travel insurance policy via our website or speak to one of our friendly staff by calling 1300 1300 50.



Insurance and Membership Services Limited ABN 59 057 159 743, AR 246235 trading as COTA Travel Insurance is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd, ABN 81 115 932 173, AFS Licence No 308461 and act as nib’s agent and not as your agent. This is general advice only. Before you buy, you should consider your needs, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available from us. This insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd, ABN 83 169 311 193.