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There’s a Storm Brewing in the Gulf Coast. What Are Your Options If You’re Traveling?

There’s a Storm Brewing in the Gulf Coast. What Are Your Options If You’re Traveling?
Joe Cortez

A tropical depression is headed straight for America’s Gulf Coast and could land as soon as Thursday, July 11. With several inches of rain predicted, the storm could cause problems for flyers headed to Georgia, Texas, and Florida. But airlines are keeping mum on their plans for the storm – if any contingency plans can be expected at all.

Meteorologists are watching a major storm brewing along America’s southern coast, but the major airlines say the rain may not impact their overall plans. Travelers’ eyes are currently on a tropical depression that is forming in the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall as soon as Thursday, July 11, 2019.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm “has the potential to produce heavy rainfall along portions of the northern and eastern Gulf Coast.” While the office hasn’t predicted where the worst of the storm could land, travelers heading anywhere between “the Upper Texas Coast to the western Florida peninsula” are advised to be aware of the storm. Meteorologists at CNN claim the storm could bring with it up to a foot of rain to popular tourist destinations, including New Orleans.

Despite the wide announcement and planned landing path of the depression, no airlines have announced waivers for flyers heading anywhere along the Gulf Coast. In a statement to FlyerTalk, an American spokesperson writes: “We continue to monitor the storm, but have not issued any waivers at this time – no impact to our operation.”

Delta responded to our request by adding: “At this time, we’re not planning for any schedule adjustments.

A United spokesperson said, “We are closely monitoring the weather in the Gulf. We encourage customers to visit our app or United.com for the latest information about their flight.”

Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines have also not announced waivers for travelers.

What happens if there are no waivers?

If the airlines do not offer waivers to travelers, travelers may still have some options to recover their money if they don’t want to travel. In many cases, travel insurance can provide assistance in the worst weather conditions.

There are two types of travel insurance flyers have available: travel insurance through a credit card or travel insurance through a third-party supplier. While they work similarly, it may be too late to rely on traditional travel insurance.

While traditional travel insurance plans offer coverage for trip delay and trip cancellation, an unnamed storm landing on America’s shores may not be enough to cancel a trip. Furthermore, cancel for any reason insurance is only offered to those who buy travel insurance within two weeks of putting money down on an itinerary.

But there is still hope. If flyers purchased their trip using a travel credit card, they may already have insurance options available to them. Most travel and rewards cards offer travel insurance for trips with a forced cancellation, as well as trip delay and luggage delay or loss coverage. How they trigger is based on the card terms and conditions – while some can claim benefits as soon as six hours after a delay, some force travelers to wait at least 12 hours before insurance can be utilized.

When it comes time to file a claim, FlyerTalkers recommend documenting everything, keeping every receipt and submitting all supporting documentation with a claim. For Chase cards, many flyers report positive experiences with their claims, with insurance covering hotel rooms, meals and even a taxi ride from the airport to home. Before spending against any potential claim, be sure to read the terms and conditions of your credit card to understand your available options.

 

[Featured Image: iStock]

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