What Really Happens When You Miss A Flight?

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You’ll feel stressed, confused, embarrassed and have “why did it happen to me?” doing loop da loops in your head until you finally get to your destination. For slightly more helpful information, read on…

1. It depends on the reason you missed your flight

Missing your flight because you got the date wrong or because your passport is out of date when you show up – this is your error, totally avoidable and you should have noticed. In this instance you will have to reschedule your flight and bear whatever costs that involves!

If you spent too long browsing duty free or fell asleep and missed the call for your gate, you have the added inconvenience that your luggage may well be on its way but you are not! In this awful situation find a relevant member of staff and see if your bags got booted off the plane, then work out how you get on the next flight. In many cases you won’t be charged, or you may have to pay a small fee to change your ticket, whereas some will charge you the difference in flight fee.

If you missed your flight in a wave of abject panic from being stuck in traffic, dealing with a broken down car, or train services were unexpectedly not running then you may be able to get on the next available flight at no extra cost. This is down to an unofficial “flat tire” rule. As it’s unofficial it is never definitely a choice, and it varies between airlines. General rules of it are:

  • The reason for missing your flight must be out of your control e.g. like having a flat tire.
  • You must arrive at the airport within 2 hours of your original flight departure.
  • You must have notified your airline of your unfortunate predicament so your probably vacant seat could be offered to some other poor soul that missed their own flight if you don’t turn up in time.

2. It could depend on your travel insurance

 If you have travel insurance, which really you should, you may be able to recover some unexpected costs as a result of missing your flight. Please note that this is different from costs incurred due to a flight being delayed or cancelled! Your policy will outline if you are covered in the event of a missed flight, and also what qualifying circumstances are required to be eligible to claim. You may be able to book any ongoing flight to get you to your destination at the soonest opportunity rather than wait for a standby slot – but as always, please read the terms of your own policy for clarification!

3. The terms of your ticket may play a role

Not all tickets are equal, and if you are on a budget airline, or have a super-economy ticket, or booked a special deal, you may find that if you miss your flight then that’s just tough luck and you will need to pay out for another.

4. It depends on what other flights are available

Usually your airline will put you on standby for the next available flight, but that might not be until the next day. You can always opt to book an entirely new flight if you are happy to accept losing your original fare to get to your destination sooner.

5. It definitely depends on how you handle it

As with anything, politeness will get you a long way, as will being pro active! If you think you are going to miss your flight, let the airline know – you will have more chance of getting on the next flight and may well be able to without much extra cost. If you are at the airport and have missed a connection or it took longer than expected to get through security, remain calm, go to your nearest desk or representative and ask how they can help in this situation. If you have already checked out your options during the mayhem sharing them with the helpdesk may well make the whole process quicker and get you on a flight sooner.