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What happens if I miss my flight?
One of two things can happen when you miss your flight:
a) You lose your rag and get escorted away by security.
b) You keep a cool head, act quickly and consider the options available.
As tempting as option A can be, especially when experiencing the confoundment, embarassment and helplessness that's all part and parcel of missing a flight, it's important to be aware of what you can do to resolve the situation and salvage your trip.
So, aside from having sensibly booked a travel insurance policy and making use of this, what can you do when you've missed a flight?
It happens to even the most seasoned jet-setters. And yet, the singular sense of confoundment experienced when you realise that 'yes, the plane has gone without you' and 'no it isn't going to turn around and come back' can take a while to process. Once you've got through the initial bemusement, then there's the feelings of frustration, embarrassment and helplessness to contend with. But, before you throw your hands up in defeat and resign yourself to the long, despairing drive home, consider some of your options.
What to do if you miss your flight
Getting out of the departure lounge
Your first objective, should be to exit the departure lounge as quickly as possible and get back to the airline check-in desk.
Head over to the information desk in the departure lounge and have a member of the airport handling staff escort you back through customs and passport control. Be warned, if you have made any purchases, you will be expected to pay the tax on these at customs. Once you have got back to the arrivals area, head straight over to your airline's check-in desk.
Airline 'rescue fee'
Many airlines operate a 'rescue fee' system, by which a passenger can be booked on the next available flight to their destination for a small fee. This is usually, a lot cheaper than paying the full price for a new flight and can save you precious time.
To be eligible for the provision, you will need to present yourself at the airline check-in desk within two hours of your original flight's departure, hence the need for haste. Please note however, that not all airlines offer this provision, British Airways being an example.
Flight reserve lists and rebooking flights
If the next out bound flight is fully booked, then you can ask to be put on the reserve list. Alternatively, if you really want to fly out on the same day, then you can use sites like Skyscanner to look for the cheapest outgoing flights to your destination across airlines.
Extras things to remember
If you need to make any adjustments to your arrangements, such as changes to the check-in time with your accommodation, make sure you get in touch and notify them about your delay, explaining your situation.
What happens if you miss your connecting flight?
Much like missing a normal flight, the extent of your options after missing your connecting flight will vary depending on whether it is you or the airline that is responsible for the missed connection.
Missed connecting flight due to delay
If your initial flight is delayed due to technical and mechanical issues or weather conditions, you should be able to get the airline to book you on the next available outgoing flight. If the next available flight happens to be the following morning, then you may also be entitled to receive compensation for extra hotel and food expenses.
Try to be polite and reasonable when enquiring about these provisions, as there is no official mandate obligating airlines to extend this service.
What happens if it's my fault for missing the flight?
If you miss your flight for reasons within your control then you can still get assistance in booking the next outgoing flight, but you will of course be expected to pay the full price and you won't be entitled to any compensation from the airline.
Can you claim if your flight delayed?
As a traveller, you have certain rights when it comes to delayed flights. Provided you checked in at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time, If your first flight is delayed or cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline.
What you may not have known, is that compensation should actually be calculated based on the difference between the scheduled and the actual arrival time at your destination. This means that if you missed your connecting flight because of a delayed initial flight, putting you perhaps several hours behind schedule, you should count these hours when you make a claim with the airline.
Airline missed flight policies
Below you'll find a list of links to the missed, delayed and disrupted flight policies of most of the major airlines operating in Europe. Choose the airline you're travelling with for specific information on your rights as a passenger in each situation.
- British airways
- Virgin Airways
- Thomas Cook
- Air France
- Austrian Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Quatar Airways
- Cathay Pacific
Missed Flight travel insurance
Claiming compensation directly from the airline can be a tricky business and airlines will not compensate for missed flights due to things like road accidents or public transport failures. This is why having reliable missed departure cover as part of a dedicated travel insurance policy is so important and could save you a world of stress, time and money.
Read our missed flight travel insurance page for more information on how we can help when you have missed a flight.
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Holiday Extras Cover Ltd and Holiday Extras Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Holiday Extras Cover Ltd 05058680 and Holiday Extras Ltd 01693250 are registered in England and Wales. Registered address: Ashford Road, Newingreen, Kent CT21 4JF.
Holiday Extras is underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered address: 2nd Floor, 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UY. Company number 03220410.