A Turbulent Year for Business Travel: 79% of Workers Experienced Travel Disruptions in 2023

A Turbulent Year for Business Travel: 79% of Workers Experienced Travel Disruptions in 2023

Global aviation data reveals an average 2100 flights are canceled across the world each day, accounting for around 3% of all departures.

  • One in four business travelers have faced a provider cancellation in 2023
  • People traveling for work in the UK are twice more affected by transportation strikes compared to travelers in the US 
  • US business travelers most impacted by passport-related issues than Europeans
  • Speaking with a real human on the phone (33%) is the top customer service option, as AI-driven chatbots rank last (9%)

London, 16 November 2023: New data releasedby global travel management platform TravelPerk shows the scale of travel chaos experienced by companies and their jet-setting employees in 2023. A significant 79% of those traveling for work this year have reported being affected by disruptions during business trips, with 40% experiencing significant delays of more than one hour, while 24% had reservations canceled. Weather also disrupted 22% of business trips, and 20% of travelers say they were held up due to transportation strikes.

As a result of these disruptions, most (92%) have changed how they book and manage their work travel and are developing new habits designed to improve their travel experience in turbulent times. The survey polled 4000 workers based in the UK, US, Germany and Spain who travel for business, to explore challenges facing business travelers and how they overcome them.

Travel disruptions vary by region:


Over one in four (28%) people traveling for work in the UK, and one in five (21%) in Germany reported being affected by transportation strikes in 2023, considerably higher than in the US (14%) and Spain (17%). 

Provider cancellation rates were significantly lower for German travelers (19%) than for those in the UK (30%), while Spanish business travelers saw the least weather-related disruptions (14%) in comparison to the US (33%). Meanwhile, passport-related issues including visa delays and denied entry were significantly more common among US business travelers (17%) compared to British (7%) Spanish (7%) and German (10%) citizens. 

Global ranking of flight cancellations by country:


Based on a comprehensive analysis of global flight data encompassing 1600 airlines and over 16 million flights, the US has the highest volume of flight cancellations in the world, followed by China, Indonesia, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, India, Australia and Italy. An average 2100 flights get canceled across the world each day, accounting for around 3% of all departures. Within the top 20 most popular countries, the highest cancellation rates are experienced for flights departing from Indonesia (13.2%), China (5.8%), Canada (4.9%), France (3.3%) and Australia (3.3%). 

New travel habits, and generational shifts:

In response to travel disruptions, one in four (25%) of business travelers are now extending their trips to stay overnight, ensuring they get to where they need to be on time. This move towards avoiding day return work trips is much more prevalent in younger people (30%) aged 25 to 34 than those aged 45 to 54 (15%). Incorporating extra travel time is also a new coping strategy to avoid disruptions, as 30% of workers consider different modes of transport such as driving or taking the train, even if it takes longer. As a result of travel setbacks, younger workers aged 25-34 (25%) are also much more likely to maximize their time away by visiting multiple destinations in one trip than 45-54 year olds (18%).

AI vs real human customer support

Almost one-third (33%) of business travelers say speaking to a human representative on the phone is their top choice for dealing with changes to bookings including disruptions, which is much higher among Spanish (39%) workers. Only 9% of all business travelers surveyed would opt for an AI chatbot to resolve booking woes, the least preferred customer service solution. Online self-service (23%) is just ahead of speaking in person with a representative at the airline, hotel, train, or rental car service desk (22%).

Yasmine Bratt, Chief Revenue Officer of TravelPerk, says: 

“Business travel is critical to business success, and from small startups to established enterprises, meetings that matter happen in real life. Although disruptions during any journey are an inevitable part of travel, for people traveling to fulfill work duties, it's more than just an inconvenience – it can impact the outcome of the trip and the performance of their companies.

“As a result, business travelers are now taking countermeasures to respond to rising travel uncertainty, including adding buffer time to trips and staying overnight rather than returning the same day. By accounting for potential disruptions ahead of time, travelers can ensure that they meet the objective of their journey.”

OnePoll conducted an online survey on behalf of TravelPerk from 27 October to 07 November 2023, with 4000 employed adults from the UK, US, Germany and Spain who travel for work. Respondents came from organizations within sectors such as accountancy, banking & finance, retail, and healthcare.

2023 flight cancellation ranking by country based on global aviation data, which analyzed flight departures between 01/03/2023 and 30/09/2023, accounting for over 16 million flights and 1600 airlines.

About TravelPerk

TravelPerk is the fastest-growing business travel platform in the world and a pioneer in the future of business travel. TravelPerk’s all-in-one platform gives travelers the freedom they want while providing companies with the control they need. The result saves time, money, and hassle for everyone.

TravelPerk has industry-leading travel inventory alongside powerful management features, 24/7 customer support from real humans, state-of-the-art technology, and consumer-grade design, all of which are enabling companies and organizations worldwide, such as TransferWise, Skyscanner, Revolut, Monzo, Farfetch and US rugby association, to get the most out of their travel.

Backed by world-class investors like General Catalyst, Kinnevik AB, DST Global Partners, Greyhound Capital, Target Global, Felix Capital, Spark Capital, LocalGlobe, and Heartcore — investors in some of the most disruptive companies in tech, including Airbnb, Slack, Twitter, Trello, Farfetch, Zalando and Delivery Hero — TravelPerk is reinventing business travel with an end-to-end solution that works. Visit www.travelperk.com for more information.

For media inquiries: press@travelperk.com