A flight, no matter where you are going is likely an important event. You might be going to a wedding, a funeral, an important business meeting, or a vacation you have been planning for so long. It is no wonder that travelers spend two to four hours standing by the airport before their flight. It is important to arrive early to hear important announcements and be informed if there are changes in your flight schedule, and be there in time for immigration or customs office.
However, there are unavoidable circumstances that might get us late for our flight. You might have slept through your alarm or hit the snooze button too many times, missed your cab, or gotten stuck in horrible traffic. If these unfortunate incidents happen to you do not panic or stress out. There are ways you can make up for this stressful situation and proceed with your trip.
What to do if you miss your flight?
Inform the airline early
If you know you are going to miss your flight as soon as you know it, call the airline and let them know of your predicament. The earlier they know the more likely it is they will be able to help you out and lay out some options for you to continue with your trip.
Some airlines or agents can offer a rebooking if your flight has not yet departed when you inform them. Usually, there is an added charge for a new ticket but airlines can make exceptions if possible and you can get your new flight for no added cost.
Why do you need to inform the airline early?
Missing your flight means that the plane will be flying with your seat vacant. This is a loss for the airline especially if you request to be rebooked to another flight. Letting them know early that you cannot show up on your original schedule means that they can resell your seat to walk-in passengers.
Chances are when you are already late you will be hot-headed and push your way through people blocking your way shouting at the counter staff. This will be counterproductive for you if you are trying to get to your flight or asking to rebook it. Even if you are under a lot of pressure and stress make sure to be polite and humble especially with the counter staff. Chances are they are your ticket to another flight soon.
Explain Why You Are Late
Let them know why you came late for your flight. Was there an accident, a medical emergency or a traffic accident? Perhaps you slept in late and the airport was congested and you couldn’t make it in time to catch your flight? Letting them know that you sincerely did not mean to disregard your appointed flight schedule and you did your best to get there as fast as you can improves your chances of getting rebooked.
Do you have any claims when you miss a flight?
Technically most airlines will not offer a refund or free rebooking for a missed flight. They will also automatically cancel your return flight if you have one.
But connecting flights have a different protocol when it comes to missed flights. Most domestic airlines can rebook you on the next flight free of charge. But you would have to stay at the airport hotel covered by the airline itself.
You should be informed of your rights for international flights going to Europe as they offer significantly more assistance for missed flights.
Click here to find out what happens and what to do when you miss your connecting flight due to a delay.