How To Behave When You Miss A Connecting Flight

angry man

You’ve missed your connecting flight – what do you do next?

The temptation might be to swear, or to throw your bag down in disgust or to go and drown your sorrows, but none of those will achieve a great deal – temporary cathartic experience aside. 

Hard as it might seem, staying calm and acting in a rational manner will at least minimise the impact of the missed connection. 

Clearly, missing a connection creates upheaval, it might have a profound effect on ongoing plans and be upsetting. Sadly, it might be impossible to make that right, the disruption might be inevitable as soon as the connection is missed. There is still, though, a best solution to be had, or at least the least bad option.

Let’s help you achieve that.

Missed Connecting Flight – Stay Calm

If you are wondering in general terms how to behave and what to do on missing a connection, but this is before actually booking, you can of course still make the issue less likely by looking at how much time there is between flights, the lay-over time.

Airlines can be guilty of creating itineraries that have very short lay-overs, the shorter the lay-over the higher the chance of a missed connection with any delay having potential significance.

On booking, keep a close eye on how long any lay-overs are and whether you are comfortable with the duration. Many consider that at least an hour is necessary for internal, domestic flights and two hours the minimum for international.

Also factor in what you actually need to do between the connecting flights – is there a change of terminal and, if so, how time consuming is this likely to be? Is the next flight with a different airline? Will it be necessary to go through customs?

While the one and two hour guides are useful, it is clear that when your next flight is with the same airline, from the same terminal, with no need to go through customs, things are a lot easier than if the opposite is true in every case.

What, though, if you planned well but you still missed your connection?

The problem is either your fault, or the fault of something outside your control – be that the airline or what would be deemed extreme circumstances, such as weather leading to a flight cancellation. By your fault, we’re not looking to attach blame, simply that the flights went as panned and for some reason you couldn’t make it – this might be illness, travel mishap to the airport or any other of a thousand reasons.

In all cases, you probably still want to arrive at your final destination, but let’s look at how the two vary.

Missed connection when the airline is responsible

Although it might not make you feel better that the problems are not of your own making, it does at least make the solution more straightforward.

If you miss a connection through the airline’s fault you might well be entitled to compensation. For compensation to apply, the flight must be European or departing from inside the EU, other conditions also apply but these will be met in there vast majority of cases.

Know Your Rights

At Flight Reclaim, we can help you secure the compensation to which you are entitled to on a no-win, no-fee basis – there are further details about our services at the bottom of this post.

Aside from the compensation, the airline is also responsible for helping you out of your predicament – for this to happen you need to go to their desk of course and talk through your situation.

If your connecting flight is cancelled you are entitled to refreshments. The airline is responsible for transportation to accommodation or to put non-local passengers up in hotels until their new departure.

It is also their job to re-book you on the next available flight (the passenger has the option to take reimbursement instead or chose an alternative re-routing).

In short, you have the moral high ground and it is the airline’s job to put things right. Approaching the desk and being polite is usually enough – cancellations and missed connections are everyday occurrences for airlines, they are used to dealing with them. What you are asking or seeking information about will not be new to them, they are likely to work with you to find an acceptable solution.

One thing to note though is that they might make an offer to give you some air miles or small refund to cover the disruption – be aware that a few measly air miles are likely to be a poor offer compared to what you are entitled to in terms of compensation. Accept their offer and you forego the right to proper recompense.

Missed the connection for personal / non-airline reasons

In this scenario, the fault (using that word loosely) might be yours, but that is not to say you can’t mitigate against the disruption.

The first action here is to get in contact with the airline – this might be in person if you are at the airport, or by phoning if travelling there. Getting in touch before the flight has left (which we appreciate won’t always be possible) could save you money.

To book a new ticket, a change fee is likely, depending on the size of this fee it might be cheaper to just buy a whole new ticket, potentially with a different airline. 

In reality, you are somewhat at their mercy and so being polite helps, accepting that it is your fault, being grateful for what they can do for you. How much time the airline representative wants to put into helping you find the best solution will inevitably be linked to how reasonable a person you are to deal with.

Speaking with the airline will also ensure your badge is held safely until you land to meet up with it.

One common mistake is to feel embarrassment at contacting the airline to discuss options for as missed flight or connection that was missed through your own error. There is no need to feel this way, it happens many times every day, every agent at the airline’s desks will be dealing with similar situations as a routine matter. You are one of many passengers to miss a connection.

Approach it in a calm, polite, matter of fact way. You missed the flight, what can they do to help, are they able to pout you as a standby on the next available flight?

Once your flights are sorted, you can then contact the hotel to let them know your new arrival plans, potentially saving money on a room you might not need for a night.

About Flight Reclaim:

At Flight Reclaim, we help passengers get the compensation they are entitled to after a delayed flight, a cancelled flight, a missed connection or when they are bumped from the flight or denied boarding.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis, have a 98% success rate and also take cases to court where necessary at no further cost to you.

Enjoying a superb rating on TrustPilot, we have secured more than £20 million in compensation for clients.

Hopefully, you never have a flight delayed or cancelled or find yourself denied boarding or bumped from the flight. However, if it does happen, get in touch.

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  • 50,000+

    Passengers helped
  • 100%

    No-Win, No-Fee
  • £20m+

    Compensation Claimed
  • 98%

    Success Rate