Flight Delays: Should You Take Compensation Offered or Write In a Complaint Later?
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
INSIDER SECRET: If you use the best travel insurance credit cards to book your travel, you can avoid having to rely on the airlines to compensate you fairly in certain situations because your credit card will have you covered.
I recently received a text from a friend who’d just been deplaned from her flight from Seattle to London. The truck that delivers the in-flight meals had struck the side of the airplane and the airline needed to make sure there hadn’t been any damage.
So there she was, sitting in the Seattle airport being told that it would be at least two hours before they got off the ground. She contacted me — her go-to travel expert — because they were offering everyone $15 meal vouchers to use at the airport during the delay. She wanted to know whether I thought she and her husband should take the voucher.
My first response was “Did you mean $150, not $15?” Clearly, I felt like $15 was a silly offer. She said it was, in fact, a $15 voucher they were offering every passenger. I advised her to hold out and submit a complaint online after the trip.
Turns out that was incredibly valuable advice, as they ended up being delayed for over five hours, and the airline ended up sending them each $675 in compensation for the delay. That’s $1,350 directly to their bank account!
I cannot guarantee that accepting the $15 voucher would have precluded her from getting the larger compensation amount. But when filing the claim, she did note that the form said only one claim can be made per ticket. She also remembered that the staff handing out the $15 food vouchers in the airport took down each passenger’s information.
Moral of the story? It might behoove you to wait until after the flight to ask for compensation.
Don’t forget, it’s also always wise to use one of the best travel insurance credit cards to book your airfare just in case things go awry. With a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your trip delay insurance kicks in after six hours. You can read about team member Joseph’s experience filing a complaint with Chase here.For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®APPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
21.24% – 28.24% Variable
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)