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I have an interview scheduled for tomorrow for a faculty position. However, today my flight got canceled. I tried to get another flight today, but unfortunately I could not.

I informed the university and requested to do my interview via Zoom, to which they agreed.

I booked the flight and hotel two weeks ago and the university had informed me they would reimburse me. Because the flight got canceled, I will get a refund from the airline. However, I will not get any refund from the hotel (the hotel price was almost $400). The university had given me 3-4 options to choose from for the hotel, each of which was a 4/5 star hotel, so it was expensive.

Now the question is: can I ask for a reimbursement for the hotel from the University? Will it be a good gesture?

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    Can not you claim compensation for the hotel from the airline? After all, it is due to their fault that you missed your hotel booking. Should depend on jurisdiction, of course, and may be better asked at Law.SE...
    – Petr
    Feb 21, 2023 at 11:21
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    @Petr Don't know of any jurisdiction that an airline would have to pay compensation for this. In EU for example, compensation would be flat rate, which may not cover the cost of the hotel.
    – MJeffryes
    Feb 21, 2023 at 13:33
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    Wouldn't this sort of thing be covered by travel insurance? I think that is why travel insurance remains important. The problem is that sometimes the cost of the insurance itself may be prohibitive and not "worth it" (at least without the benefit of hindsight). I am not a travel expert, but this website: transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/… states that, "In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled."
    – Deepak
    Feb 21, 2023 at 16:07
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    @Deepak Yes, it would typically be covered by travel insurance, but typically travel insurance isn't reimbursable. For a business or institution like a university, it's better to just eat the cost of occasional cancellation expenses rather than pay someone else to take the risk; effectively they serve as their own insurance that way. OP already says "the university had informed me they would reimburse me", I don't think they need to clarify that.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 21, 2023 at 17:00
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    @user71659 whether the university has a relationship with a third party like a insurer who may help them with certain costs in certain circumstances is completely irrelevant to the OP. Their relationship is directly with the university, who agreed to reimburse hotel costs. If it's an agreement the university can wriggle out of in this scenario, an insurer won't be interested in paying anyway.
    – Will
    Feb 22, 2023 at 10:33

2 Answers 2

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I think it is your responsibility to try to get any possible refund for the hotel (that is, contact the hotel and discuss your circumstances, even if their cancellation policy would seem to not allow a refund). Then, it's the responsibility of the institution to still reimburse you as if you had traveled. That assumes that the cause for the cancellation is entirely outside your control, which in this case it sounds like it is.

This is one good reason that institutions should pay these costs themselves up-front rather than reimbursing interviewees afterwards.

It is possible that some arcane rules (especially if you are dealing with a government-affiliated institution) will somehow prevent you from being reimbursed, but even in that case there is nothing wrong with making the request. If anyone holds it against you for asking, that may not be a place you want to work anyways.

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    While being a government institution may make them unable to accommodate your request for reimbursement, it will also make the employees indifferent to you making the request. This is different from, say, a small company where everyone might be worried that your reimbursement is coming out of their bonus. Feb 22, 2023 at 19:50
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When the institution effectively forced you to choose a high-price hotel, they were clearly willing to foot the bill and had already budgeted for it. It would be extremely unreasonable for them to force you to pay for something you never expected and might not be able to afford, or would have chosen a less expensive option if it came out of your own pocket.

So you should definitely request reimbursement, and I think they're likely to provide it. In the very least, you should insist on the difference between the high price you're actually being charged and a cheap hotel you might have chosen if you knew you'd have to cover the bill yourself.

Furthermore, what's the worst that could happen? If they say no, you're no worse off than you currently are. If you think this might color their hiring decision, I think that's unlikely. That decision comes from academics, not the bean counters.

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