Missed Connecting Flight Due to Cancellation (Compensation, Right to Care, Rules)


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You have missed connecting flight due to cancellation.

You have missed connection flight due to delay or cancellation of the previous flight. It doesn’t matter if you missed it due to delay or cancellation, as in both situations you might be entitled to the same things — care from the airline, a new flight and compensation. The things that matter are what kind of connecting flight that was, how it was booked, and origin and destination of your flight.

This will determine — what are your rights in this case.


Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.


People walking to the gate
People walking to the gate

1. Missed Connecting Flight Due to Cancellation of Another Flight

There are two types of connecting flights:

The main difference between these two is who is making the connection. Airline-protected connecting flights are connecting flights made by the airline. But self-transfer flights, on the other hand, are planned and made by the travelers themselves. Self-transfer flights are separately booked flights.

In this article, we will talk about both.

Since both are very popular and very common.

1.1 Airline-Protected Connecting Flights (Most Popular, Safest)

This is the most common scenario.

Most likely it will apply to you. Missing your connection is never fun. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Also it doesn’t necessarily need to be stressful, especially if it’s an airline-protected connecting flight. 

If you have booked an airline-protected connecting flight under one booking reference, you have nothing to worry about in case of missed connection. Your connection is protected by the airline. Even if the flight is operated by two or more airlines (codeshare partners). 

Here’s what happens if you miss an airline-protected connecting flight:

  1. Contact your airline. Fill them in about the situation. If you have booked a connection from one airline, but flight is operated by another airline, contact the airline you booked your flights from (it’s called the marketing airline). This is the airline responsible for the connection, even if a part of the journey is operated by its partner. 
  2. The airline must book you on the next available flight for free. As long as everything’s in order with your travel documents, and you missed your connection through no fault of your own, you are entitled to a free flight to your destination. This is how connecting flights work.
  3. The airline has to take care of checked baggage. It has to take your baggage to your destination. In many cases, airport staff will locate your bags and put them on the next flight. However, there are situations when you will have to collect it and recheck it. Ask your airline about this.
  4. You might have a right to receive care from the airline. The airline has to offer you assistance at the airport, and provide with certain services for free. If the flight departed from the EU, UK or EEA, this applies to all airlines. If the flight departed from some other country and is going to the EU, UK or EEA, this applies to European airlines.
  5. You may have a right to flight compensation. There are situations when the airline has to pay you flight compensation for the inconvenience. This applies both to European airlines (KLM, Lufthansa, etc.) and to non-European airlines (Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, etc.).

This is how airline-protected connections work.

As you can see, you are entitled to a new flight and certain services for free. And in some cases, you can get compensation from the airline too.


When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.


1.2 Self-Transfer Connecting Flights (It’s Common)

If it’s a self-transfer flight, it’s not as easy and stress-free.

You aren’t entitled to the above-mentioned things. With self transfer, most of it is your responsibility. And mostly you have to find a solution yourself.

Here’s what happens if you miss connection (self-transfer):

  1. You need to buy a new flight. As it is a self transfer, it’s not made by and approved by the airline. You have planned and booked the connection yourself, by buying two or more separate flights. Or you bought it from a flight booking website or an online travel agent (they show it somewhere that it’s a self transfer). Even if the flights are with the same airline, these still are separate flights, each has its own booking reference. And no airline is responsible for the connection — if you make it on time or not.
  2. You take care of your luggage. You have to collect and recheck your bag after every flight, at every airport. Make sure you check the baggage policy of all airlines you are traveling with and comply with them. They may differ.
  3. You might have a right to care. Let’s assume, your first flight is cancelled last-minute. You arrive at the airport, and suddenly, your flight gets cancelled. You are stuck at the airport until further notice. In this case, the airline has to offer you assistance at the airport. This is called a right to care. With European airlines, it applies to all flights to and from the EU, UK, and EEA, with other airlines — flights departing from the EU, UK, and EEA. You have a right to care not because you will miss your connection, but because your flight has been cancelled last-minute, and the airline operating the flight has take care of the affected passengers. The airline is not responsible for your next flight, however. You will need to book a new ticket.
  4. You may have a right to compensation. Not because you missed your connection, but because your flight was cancelled. The airline is not responsible for your next flight (connection), however. If you miss it, you will need to book a new ticket.

As you can see, you are less protected with self transfers.

At the same time, you still have some rights.

It’s good to know about them.

1.3 Protected Self-Transfer Connecting Flights

Some third party flight booking sites offer protected self transfers.

A good example is kiwi.com — a very popular flight booking website known for its ease of use. Kiwi offers you an option to book protected self-transfer connections. The main difference between such self-transfer flights and “regular” self-transfer flights (and reason to buy such protected self transfers) — you are more protected.

Look for flights with Kiwi Guarantee. You can purchase Kiwi Guarantee when making a booking. It costs extra (it used to be for free).

Missed connection flight due to cancellation?

You may be given a new flight free of charge. 

Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.

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Rain Vortex Waterfall in Changi Airport, Singapore
Rain Vortex Indoor Waterfall in Changi Airport, Singapore

2. Missed Flight Connection: Compensation

One of your flights is cancelled.

And you can’t make it in time for your next flight.

If you have experienced this, you may have a right to compensation. See our UK / EU flight compensation guide to learn more about flight compensation regulation and rules. It’s an in-depth guide to air passenger rights.

Here we’ll talk only about the basics.

2.1 In What Situations Does It Apply to You? When Can You Get Compensation

You can get compensation from the airline, if:

  • Your flight is delayed. There are exceptions, but in most cases, you might be entitled to compensation if the delay is at least 3 hours long. That is, if you arrive to your destination 3+ hours later than planned.
  • Your flight is cancelled last-minute. If your flight is cancelled up to 14 days before the day of departure, then it’s considered a last-minute flight cancellation. In this case, you have a right to compensation.
  • You are denied boarding. It applies to situations when you are denied boarding due to overbooking. It’s when airline has sold too many tickets, and there isn’t a seat for you anymore.

In these situations you might be entitled to compensation.

Conditions apply, though. Flight cancellation and delay must be due to fault of the airline, not something unavoidable like extreme weather conditions. The good news is that airplane technical problems and also airline strikes often are considered fault of the airline, not something unavoidable.

You can get a compensation if there was a strike.

To sum it up – you can’t get compensation for missed connection as a such. But you can get compensation if you arrive to your destination at least 3 hours late. This is one of the most important things to understand here.

Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Compensation in Europe

2.2 Airline-Protected Connecting Flights vs Self Transfer

If you have booked an airline-protected connecting flight, you don’t need to worry. If you miss your connecting flight because of the cancellation of your previous flight, the airline will book you on another flight free of charge. It was not your fault you missed your connection.

Keep in mind that in case of connecting flights, your destination is your final destination. And the airline must take you to it. For example, you are flying from London to Bangkok via Dubai, where you change planes. Your destination is your final destination — Bangkok. If you arrive in Bangkok 3+ hours later than scheduled, often you could be entitled to compensation. 

The only thing that matters is how late you arrive at your destination. Your flight could depart only 1 hour later, but if you arrive at your destination 3 or more hours later, you might be entitled to compensation. As long as the cancellation was due to the fault of the airline.

With self transfer you wouldn’t get any of that.

First, you missing a connecting flight it’s your fault.

Second, with self transfer connections every flight is a separate flight. You have a self-transfer flight from London to Bangkok via Dubai. You arrived to Dubai 1 hour later than planned. You can’t get compensation for 1-hour delay. Even if you miss connection due to delay like this. There are no such rules.

2.3 How Much Can You Claim for Delay or Cancellation?

In most cases, it’s 250, 400 or 600 euro per person.

The amounts are regulated by flight compensation regulations.

The longer the flight, the more you can get.

  • 250 EUR – if the flight distance is less than 1500 km;
  • 400 EUR – if the flight distance is between 1500 and 3500 km;
  • 600 EUR – if the flight distance is more than 3500 km.

3. Which Airlines Are Covered?

These rules apply to all airlines.

Including charter airlines and low-cost airlines.

EU/UK to EU/UKEU/UK to Other countriesOther countries to EU/UK
EU airlines+++
UK airlines+++
Other airlines++

If it’s a EU/EEA/UK airline, the Regulations apply to:

  • flights operating within Europe;
  • flights departing from Europe to third countries;
  • flights departing from third countries to Europe.

If it’s an airline registered elsewhere, the Regulations apply to:

  • flights operating within Europe;
  • flights departing from Europe to a third country.
Delta planes in JFK airport, New York
Delta Air Lines planes in JFK airport, New York

4. Missed Connection: NYC

Flight transfers in the US differ from the rest of the world.

Mainly it’s due to the visa requirements. While most countries don’t require a visa for connecting flights (for layover), in the US you need either an ESTA or visa for transit. Also if you’re only transiting to another country, and even if you don’t plan to leave the airport during a layover. All of this means passport control, lines and sometimes missed connections.

Missed a connecting flight due to cancellation? No problem. Because even if now you will want to leave the airport for a few hours or few days, until you sort out a new flight, you will be allowed to do that — because you’ll have either ESTA or US transit visa. That’s a good thing about ESTA.

What should you do if you miss a flight in the US?

See the guidelines above (1.1 and 1.2).

While most countries don’t require a visa for connecting flights (for layover), in the US you need either an ESTA or visa for transit.

So, yes, having an ESTA is actually a cool thing.

In case of other countries that require visa, things may get complicated. If you miss your flight, and you are stuck in such a country, you may have to apply for a tourist visa — just to leave the airport. You missed your connection. And now you need to stay in this country longer than you were planning to (you were meant to have a layover only).

Have you ever missed connecting flight due to cancellation of the previous flight? What was your experience? Did you get a new flight? Did airline pay compensation for missed connection?

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