Get to know what travel waivers are, how to use them and how to leverage them to reduce trip disruptions.
There’s nothing worse than weather delays and cancellations when you’re traveling for work or pleasure. And it’s not always weather in your area that leads to trip disruptions.
Weather at your destination can disrupt a trip.
Weather along the route to your destination can disrupt a trip.
Even weather not along your route can disrupt your trip, as major weather events can ground aircraft and prevent them from picking up passengers in other parts of the country or world.
Thankfully, many airlines offer pro-active, weather-related travel waivers to help prevent disruption. If you know these waivers are being offered, they can be a tremendous help in preventing disruptions and allowing you to reach your destination as close to the time planned as possible.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about travel waivers and how to use travel waivers to reduce trip disruptions.
What are Travel Waivers?
When bad weather strikes, airlines often look for ways to appease customers who might be affected. In many cases, they offer to waive change fees for a given period of time, allowing customers to switch from weather-affected flights to flights expected to leave and arrive on time.
These weather-related offers are known as “travel waivers.” There are two important components to travel waivers:
- Free Changes: If you call up an airline to change your flight, you’ll likely get hit with a significant change fee of $200 or more. During travel waiver periods, you can change at no cost.
- No Fare Differences: When you change your flight, you’ll likely be booking on a new flight at the last minute. The last-minute market rate of the fare is often much higher than what you paid for your original flight. During travel waiver periods, you can change at no additional cost. That is, you don’t have to pay the fare difference.
Of course, the optimal phrase here is “during travel waiver periods.” Airlines almost always set a deadline for changing your flight without penalty. Miss this deadline, and you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of travel waivers.
How to Use Travel Waivers
It’s almost always a good idea to take advantage of travel waivers. Keep in mind that airlines don’t want to spend time and energy accommodating passengers on alternate flights. If they are offering travel waivers, it’s because bad weather is so likely that accommodating passengers on alternate flights is preferable to dealing with the fallout from delays.
Here’s the best approach for how to use travel waivers: If one is offered, take it.
But how can you find out about travel waivers? If you’re not plugged in appropriately to the app, email or text alerts from your airline, you may miss the opportunity. As a strong alternative to relying on airlines, you can choose a third-party alert system for travel waivers.
The Cost of Not Using Waivers
Missing out on waivers isn’t simply an oversight — it’s time and money lost. They sometimes go unused because a traveler is unaware, and they sometimes go unused because a traveler doesn’t fully understand the benefits. Both situations are costly.
Waivers are designed to seamlessly move passengers from at-risk flights onto flights that are much more likely to depart and arrive on time. Waivers also eliminate the cost associated with changing flights. If you spend money to change a flight that could have been waiver-eligible, it’s just money wasted.
JTB Provides Travel Waiver Alerts Through Cirium
In October, JTB Business travel announced a new partnership with travel data and analytics platform Cirium. Through this partnership, JTB customers can get proactive Airline Waiver Notifications that help reduce trip disruption.
The alert process is simple. If and when travel waivers are available, passengers on eligible flights will receive an email, text message or both that lets them know about the availability. These alerts ensure that affected passengers can make other arrangements quickly and without incurring additional costs.
Passengers enjoy better travel experiences, and the companies they represent avoid costly change fees.
Are you interested in travel waiver notifications and other services? Contact us to learn more about what JTB can do as your comprehensive corporate travel agency.