We, at some point in our life of traveling, may end up missing a flight thanks to traffic, a delayed departure with minimal time for a connection, or we just lost track of time at home or hotel. But before we start to panic, there are a few quick tips to consider for those who miss their flight (regardless of why).
From what you should do to what you can’t do, let’s take a look at these top five go-to’s.
Tip #1: Get in touch with the airline ASAP
If you’re rushing to the airport and are thinking that you will not catch your flight, make sure to get in touch with the airline as soon as your gut tells you “you’re late”. Carriers may be more willing to rebook you on a later or the following flight without an additional cost if you give them an advance heads up you may miss your flight.
Tip #2: Check for other flights that day
If you end up missing your flight, check for any other flights that day—once you get to the airport—and let the agent know what other options may work for you. The only downside is that many airlines will charge you a fee for the flight change or the difference of cost between what you originally booked it for and what the current cost of that ticket is for the flight you want. However, this is not true for all airlines, so you’ll need to ask what the carrier’s policy is regarding flight changes for missed flights. Moreover, if you booked with a consolidator (like us!), make sure to contact your agent right away and see what options are available for you.
Tip #3: Don’t forget about the “flat tire rule”
Have you ever heard of the “flat tire rule”? Although this is not embedded in all airline policies, if you are late and miss your flight due to unforeseen circumstances such as a flat tire (or something similar), you can be rebooked and fly standby without paying an additional fee. Usually, you have to arrive within two hours of your missed flight in order for this rule to apply (along with the explanation). The only four airlines that currently offer the “flat tire rule” are American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest. The downside is that the “flat tire rule” only works for domestic flights (this won’t work for international ones).
Tip #4: Ask for compensation for missed connections
If the reason why you missed your connecting flight was due to the airline or the weather, you can ask for compensation in the form of money and hotel stays, as well as have your ticket rebooked for free. If your connection is in Europe, you can get up to 600 Euros, but receiving compensation also works in other continents around the world, as well as for domestic flights. Don’t be afraid to ask—although airlines don’t advertise compensation, it is written in their policy. You just have to check!
Tip #5: Consider travel insurance
If you’re prone to being late or just have bad luck when traveling, consider buying travel insurance for more expensive trips—you won’t have to pay hefty rebooking fees or ticket differences. Travel insurance can not only cover your flight(s) but also hotel stay(s). However, since travel insurance varies between tiers and companies, it’s important to read (before buying) what exactly the insurance covers and how much it covers.