The Consequences of Travel Delay

A train I was on from Winchester to London yesterday was delayed because of faulty doors on another train. In fact, at one point, we actually managed to go backwards for a few miles to get to usable track. Despite sitting stationary for 15 minutes whilst the signalmen dithered and ending up almost half an hour late, South West Trains didn’t mention provide any reparations for passengers on the train. By contrast, my experiments in travelling by coach recently (primarily on National Express) have been very promising; they are cheaper than the train and surprisingly reliable for road-based transport. I shall consider them more seriously in the future as an alternative to the train (I don’t normally drive).

This raises an interesting question; as I understand it, most public transport operators explicitly void any claims for consequential loss as a result of delays, typically in the terms & conditions involved in buying a ticket (although, for example, if you’re taking an air journey in the EU, you are entitled to compensation in some limited circumstances by EU mandate). In other words, if I’m late for a job interview, I can’t sue my train company for possible lost wages, only the ticket price. This is probably because it would increase the price of the ticket substantially if they needed to insure against this. However, sometimes this might be useful - if I miss the play I’m going to at the theatre, all I really need is another train ticket and another theatre ticket for the following night to make it up. If I paid a bit more for my ticket, is this something the train company, airline, or suchlike could provide, at least within certain limits? Could this be an added-value service for 1st class passengers? Or is it a market already well-covered by travel insurance? I’d like to see this service offered, anyway - I for one would buy it on occasion.