It’s a traveler’s worst nightmare come true! But it still happens, even to the most organized among us. All’s not lost; there are ways you can still salvage the situation. Here’s what you need to do when you miss your flight.
First of all, take a deep breath and calm down. Then follow these steps below, depending on which situation applies to you.
Deal with connecting flights
If a delay in your first flight is the reason you’re missing your connection, don’t worry too much. Usually, most airlines will rebook you on the next flight, and that too for free. Although, you might have to fly on standby depending on seat availability. Some airlines, in fact, automatically rebook you. But don’t take that for granted. You need to call them as soon as you land and find out how to get on another flight.
Talk to the airline agents ASAP
This is always the first thing you need to do. Get in touch with your airline as soon as you miss, or even if you think you’re going to miss, your flight. If you’re not at the airport, find their local number from the website and give them a call. They might be able to rebook you on the next flight out before you reach the airport. If you’ve reached the airport, head straight to their desk. If you’re late to a flight because of something unavoidable like a flat tire, they may rebook you the next available flight at no extra charge. However, you should arrive within two hours or less of your original flight’s scheduled departure time.
Try to book a same-day change
If you miss your flight and need a guaranteed seat on another trip, you can try to schedule a same-day change. Some airlines will need you to request the change before your original flight departs. Also, it must be on the same calendar day. Alaska Airlines charges $50 for same-day changes, while American and United charge $75. A same-day change can be booked up to 24 hours before your original flight. However, airlines like American will allow you to book even if you’ve already checked in for your initial flight and checked your luggage. However, they’ll need at least an hour’s notice to shift the bag to your new flight. If you have Elite/Premium status with some airlines, it may get you a free same-day change.
Check your travel insurance policy
If you can prove it was not your fault, some insurance companies will compensate you for some or all of your lost-flight charges. Read your policy’s fine print well. If applicable, do your best to get written confirmation that the incident that caused you to miss your flight was caused by factors beyond your control.
Pay for a new seat
If you’re really, really late, say around six hours or more, you’re probably won’t be able to get a new ticket for free. You can, of course, contact the airline and try to wheedle a free rebooking. But odds are you’ll need to pay for a new seat. This is where the travel insurance mentioned above will come in handy, especially if you’re someone who travels a lot.
Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions by people who miss their flights.
What really happens if I miss my flight?
If you don’t show up for your booked flight, you’ll be classified as a “no show,” which means the airline will cancel the rest of your itinerary, leaving you with few alternatives for refunds or rebooking.
What happens if I miss my connecting flight?
Airlines will rebook you on the next available flight if you miss your connecting flight due to something that’s not your fault (flight delay or bad weather). However, if you miss your connecting flight due to your fault (fell asleep or missed the announcement), the airline might help you rebook but is under no obligation to do so. In fact, you may need to pay a change fee or fare difference (if any).
What happens if you miss your flight after checking in?
Checking in but not boarding the plane is termed a “no show.” This means the airline can cancel the rest of your itinerary, leaving you with minimal options for refunds or rebooking.
What is the ‘flat tire’ rule?
The ‘flat tire’ rule is kind of an unofficial airline policy. It allows airlines/check-in agents the flexibility to put passengers who may have missed their flight, due to, well, a flat tire, or other mitigating circumstances, on the next flight without a penalty.
What happens if you miss your American Airlines flight?
Usually, if your flight is canceled or a delay will cause you to miss your connection, American Airlines will rebook you on the next flight with available seats. American’s unwritten rule is that they can accommodate passengers as standby flyers on the next flight without paying change fees or fare increases. But, you must have arrived at the airport within two hours of their original departure time. However, the flight they missed shouldn’t be the day’s last one.
What happens if you miss your Delta flight?
As far as we know, Delta Airlines doesn’t have a ‘flat tire’ policy. They deal with missed flights on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if you miss your Southwest Airlines flight?
Southwest has an unofficial ‘flat tire’ policy. This means Southwest will try and accommodate you if you arrive within two hours after your scheduled departure on the next available flight to your destination on a standby basis. But, this is mostly for passengers who miss their flight through no fault of their own.
What happens if you miss your United Airlines flight?
United is another airline that does not have a ‘flat-tire’ policy. Despite that, if you miss your flight and contact United or arrive at a ticketing counter within half an hour of your scheduled departure time, United will, in most cases, book you on the next United or United Express flight available. This isn’t guaranteed to work every time, but you could try.
What happens if you miss your Frontier Airlines flight?
If there is a flight delay, cancellation, diversion, or you miss a connecting flight, Frontier Airlines will put you on the next available flight at no additional cost. You can find more information on the Frontier Airlines website.
What happens if you miss your JetBlue flight?
JetBlue’s official policy is that passengers who miss a nonrefundable flight forfeit their money. If you miss your flight, the reservation fee will be credited to a JetBlue Travel Bank account for future travel.
However, the airline will let you remain on standby for the next available flight at no additional cost. Also, you can choose the ‘same-day no show’ option, which will cost between $75 and $200, depending on your fare.
Why do people miss their flights?
Missing flights is quite a common occurrence. Sometimes it’s avoidable, sometimes not. People miss flights for a variety of reasons. Going through the reasons listed below will help you understand which situations could’ve been avoided, which are unavoidable, and how to plan accordingly.
Flight connections are often the weak link in an otherwise flawlessly planned itinerary. As business travelers push the limitations to arrive at their final destination as soon as possible, they don’t leave enough time to clear the airport on connecting flights. When you factor in the possibility of flight delays, it’s nearly likely that you’ll be running for your gate with no prospect of making it.
Forgetting something at home
In an ideal scenario, travelers should pack at least a day in advance. The reality is that most people tend to pack a few hours before they leave for the airport, which results in a lot of forgotten essentials. Packing a day in advance leaves room for things that might escape your mind, like your ID, passport, etc.
Long TSA lines
No matter who you are, airport security cannot be skipped. TSA has strict instructions to ignore passengers who complain about missing their flight if agents believe that someone in the line might be a threat. A problem in the line can result in being forced to wait much longer than expected. Many people have missed their flights only because of how unpredictable security checks are.
The trip you make to the airport is as important as your entire travel itinerary. All airport authorities and the TSA clearly state how early you need to get to the airport. Even so, some folks tend to dismiss that. In turn, this leads to many travelers missing their flights due to trouble with their cars. A flat tire, a car breaking down, or even a fender-bender can cause a delay in getting to the airport. It could be too late by the time you manage to call roadside assistance or find an alternate means of transport.
We really don’t know why, but people expect airports to have plenty of parking spots. However, that’s not the reality. Several people leave their vehicles parked for days at the airport. Then there are peak travel times that can lead to sold-out lots. Missing your flight only because you couldn’t find a parking spot is one of the worst feelings in the world. It is also entirely avoidable. You can easily book your airport parking spot online before traveling and be guaranteed a parking spot.
Check out more blogs on the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.