Minor air travel mishaps create major business disruptions

Worst mishaps cost travellers an average of $1,475, two days of missed work

Air travel mishaps, such as delayed flights, cancelled flights and missed connections, are by far the most common travel problem encountered by today’s road warriors. Nearly 90 per cent of business travellers who experienced problems while travelling, experienced at least one mishap related to air travel, according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation – the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Overall, a business travel-related mishap costs a traveller on average $1,475 in missed work and out-of-pocket expenses and an average of 2.3 work days lost.

The study, Business Traveller Study 2014: The Cost of Mishaps, sponsored by AIG Travel and Travel Guard, surveyed more than 500 business travellers who had traveled and experienced at least one travel mishap while on a business trip in the past year. It follows a February 2014 GBTA Foundation report finding that 75 per cent of travellers encountered a mishap while travelling on business in the past year.

“Travel-related issues, including delays, cancelations and evacuations, are an unfortunate aspect of business travel,” said GBTA Vice President of Research Joseph Bates. “By understanding the biggest woes, travel managers can take steps to identify and mitigate some of the frustration, lost time and added cost involved.”

Some of the biggest woes included canceled flights and mishaps encountered while travelling abroad, resulting in hours of lost time and thousands of dollars spent dealing with the issue.

  • Air travel mishaps, by far the most common mishap (87 per cent), took nearly 11 hours to resolve and cost $1,154 in missed work and out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Only about a quarter of travellers were able to “complete their business responsibilities without delay” following their most negative mishap. Travellers who missed work because of their mishap missed an average of 2.3 days. Travellers said their most negative mishap took more than 12 hours to resolve.
  • Cancelled flights are perceived as having the “most negative impact” by a majority (52 per cent) of travellers who have experienced this mishap and at least one different mishap, ranking higher than medical emergencies and lost luggage.
  • More than 40 per cent of respondents indicated their travel mishaps occurred abroad, resulting in an average total cost of $2,148. Europe (66 per cent) was by far the most common region where the travel mishap occurred, followed by Asia-Pacific (39 per cent).

Almost half of travellers had travel insurance when their negative mishap occurred. More than a third (37 per cent) of travellers who did not have travel insurance when their most negative mishap occurred said they will start using it within the next year. That number jumps to nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) when the mishap takes place abroad.

Over the past year, on average, travellers experienced 3.3 of the 16 different mishaps in the blue columns below:
Minor air travel mishaps create major business disruptionsMethodology

In the U.S. a total of 533 respondents completed the online survey between May 28, 2014 and June 2, 2014. To participate, business travellers had to be employed full-time and have taken at least one business trip within the last 12 months and experienced at least one travel mishap during their business trip.

The study, Business Traveller Study 2014: The Cost of Mishaps, is available exclusively to GBTA members, and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected].

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