When an airline pays out compensation for a delay, and you’re traveling for work, are you really entitled to keep the money? Shouldn’t you turn it over to your employer?
Even a three hour day, say at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday, can trigger cash payments for European flights under EU Regulation 261/2004 for flight delays. Or if you’re traveling in the U.S. and you’re involuntarily bumped off of a flight then cash compensation is due. Let’s not even get into picking up $10,000 in travel vouchers for taking a later flight.
- If your employer bought the ticket, and you’re traveling during the business day, what’s the argument for you to keep airline compensation?
- Often extra expenses incurred during interrupted travel are covered by an employer. I’d say extra expenses get covered first, if not by an employer then by the airline or credit card used to purchase the ticket. But what about airline cash left over after that?
- If you’re traveling during work, it’s not just that the business is losing money — lost deals, lost billables — but you’re already being paid for the time so isn’t taking delay compensation a form of double dipping? (On the other hand the IRS likely wouldn’t consider denied boarding compensation to be income.)
Have you ever thought about the ethics of pocketing airline compensation when someone else bought the ticket and they’re already paying you for your time? Would you ever consider turning those funds over to your boss?