The recent cancellations of hundreds of Southwest Airlines’ flights after a hole tore in the roof of a Southwest Boeing 737, forcing an emergency landing last Friday underscores where travel insurance can help in these situations.
Travel insurance cannot cover the flight cancellations, because it’s the responsibility of the airline to honor their contract with each ticket holder and get them to their destinations. Each airline handles situations like this differently.
While some airlines have agreements with other major carriers, Southwest does not. This means that a Southwest ticket cannot be endorsed over to another carrier who can get a traveler to their destination. It remains to be seen whether Southwest will issue refunds to travelers whose flights were canceled.
You can read the latest update from Southwest that explains their position.
How Travel Insurance can help
All that aside, how can travel insurance help customers who are stuck in similar situations?
If a traveler purchased travel insurance prior to these recent cancellations, then that traveler may have coverage (depending on their policy) for travel delays and perhaps ‘cancel for any reason’ if they decided to simply scrap their travel plans and wait for another time.
In all cases, travelers with travel insurance would have the support of their travel insurance assistance services who could explain their options and perhaps make alternative travel arrangements.