Missing a flight is a terrible feeling that can be extra stressful if you’re travelling for a personal emergency or on a tight work schedule. While dealing with the unexpected might cause you to feel anxious, upset, and helpless, there are several steps you can take to ensure things run as smoothly as possible when air travel doesn’t go as planned.
Talk with airline representatives.
Before you start to stress out, talk with airline representatives about your missed flight. Henrik Zillmer, the CEO at AirHelp, told INSIDER that simply explaining why you missed your flight is the first step. “Some airlines have an informal ‘flat tire’ rule which means they can book you on the next available flight, should space allow, if you missed your flight for a good reason,” he explains.
Did you miss your flight because of circumstances you couldn’t control like a car accident related traffic jam en route to the airport? If you’re lucky, you might be able to be re-booked without a penalty.
Acting ahead of time can help too. “If you’re stuck in traffic on the way to the airport and afraid you’ll be too late to board, some airlines may be able to book you onto a later flight. The sooner you let the airline know you might be late, the earlier they will be able to help you rectify the situation, Zillmer noted.
Brush up on your airline’s policies.
One of the best things you can do before you fly is familiarise yourself with your booked airline’s policies. Know what their contract of carriage is, as it will outline how an airline handles various scenarios, such as delays, missed flights, and more.
Consider other transportation options.
If your airline won’t rebook you without a pricey penalty, it may be time to consider other options. “Sometimes, it’s less expensive to buy a brand new ticket from other airlines, fly out of a neighbouring airport, or to re-organise your agenda to fly out on a different day,” Zimmer affirms.
If your flight was scheduled to be short, such as Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you might be able to get to your destination faster with a ground transportation option like a rental car, bus, or train.
Adjust your agenda and/or accommodations.
Missing your flight will likely have an impact on your itinerary, whether you’re travelling for work or for fun. Consider things like airport pickup and transfers, along with your scheduled accommodations.
“Be sure to let a hotel know as soon as soon as it’s clear that you won’t be on time for your reservation, especially if you need to cancel it entirely,” Zimmer reminds. “Your goal here is to avoid extra charges made to your booking.”
Look into compensation.
If you missed a connecting flight because your first flight was disrupted, you might be eligible for compensation from your airline.
“If you booked your flights together and they are eligible under EC 261 (meaning they are departing from the EU or on an EU airline) you may be able to claim compensation of up to $US700,” Zimmer explains. “Under EC 261, passengers are eligible to claim compensation when these three flight disruptions occur: a three-hour (or more) delayed flight at your final destination, a flight cancellation, or denied boarding. If you miss a flight connection as a result of one of these incidents, you may be eligible for missed connection compensation.”
Tools like AirHelp can help you navigate the process and better understand if you’re eligible to claim cash for the inconvenience of a missed flight, cancellation, or anytime you’ve been denied boarding; all you need to do is enter your flight details. Wish you knew about this smart travel tech earlier? Good news: You can file for compensation for all occurrences that happened during the last three years.
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