What to Do if You Miss Your Connecting Flight?


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About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

What to do if you miss your connecting flight?

And what happens if you miss a connecting flight?

Missing a connecting flight can be an incredibly stressful experience. Not only are you dealing with the inconvenience of having to rebook your flight, but also the potential cost associated with it as well. But don’t worry! In this article we will discuss what to do if you miss a connecting flight, and how to get a new flight ticket to your destination. Let’s not forget about the compensation too!

Read on to learn more about the topic.

Air Baltic plane engine
A view from a plane window

What to Do if You Miss Your Connecting Flight?

Did you miss your flight?

What happens if you miss your connecting flight because of a delay or cancellation of the previous flight? What to do in such situations?

It depends on the type of your connection.

1. Missing a Connecting Flight (an Airline-Protected Connection)

What to do if you miss your connecting flight?

If it’s a airline protected connecting flight, you don’t have to worry.

Missing a connecting flight can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but there are several steps you can take to handle the situation:

  1. Contact the airline. As soon as you realize you’ve missed your connecting flight, contact the airline to let them know. They may be able to rebook you on the next available flight, or provide you with other options to get to your destination.
  2. Alternatively, visit the airline’s office at the airport. Ask the staff at an information counter where can you find the representatives of your airline.
  3. Ask for a new flight ticket. The airline must give you another flight. As long as everything’s in order with your travel documents, and it isn’t due to your fault, they will put you on another flight completely for free. This is how it works with most airlines globally. This is how connecting flights work.
  4. Look for alternative flights. While the airline may automatically rebook you on the next available flight, it’s a good idea to look for alternative flights yourself. You can use travel apps or websites to search for other flights to your destination.
  5. Stay calm and be patient. It’s important to stay calm and patient, especially if there are long lines or delays. Remember that the airline staff are doing their best to help you, and getting angry or upset may not help your situation.
  6. Find out what happens to your luggage. In most cases, the airline takes care of checked baggage. They still have the obligation to take your baggage to destination – wherever you are flying to. Keep in mind that you may have to collect it and recheck it. Ask about this.
  7. Keep in mind that you may have a right to care. The airline has to offer you assistance at the airport. This is called a ‘right to care‘. 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.
  8. Arrange for accommodation if needed. If you’re stranded overnight due to a missed connection, the airline may provide accommodations, such as a hotel room or food vouchers. If not, you may need to arrange for accommodations yourself. Read about my experience getting a free 5-star hotel room in London.
  9. Don’t forget that you may have a right to compensation. In some cases, the airline has to pay you flight compensation for the inconvenience. This applies both to European airlines like KLM and Lufthansa, and to non-European airlines like Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways.

2. Missing a Self-Transfer Flight (Non-Protected Transfer)

What to do if you miss your connecting flight which is not airline-protected?

These type of flights are called self-transfer flights. And trying to make a self transfer can be quite the hassle.

Keep in mind that most of this process is up to you – the airline is not responsible for your self transfer. And if you miss your connection, here’s what happens:

  1. Book a new flight yourself. You may have two flights operated by the same airline, or these may be flights operated by different airlines. In both situations, as these are separately booked flights, such a connection is considered to be a self transfer. And no airline is responsible for this type of connections. That’s why you have to buy a new flight. The airline won’t do it, as it’s not responsible for self-transfer flights.
  2. Collect and recheck your bag. You’re in charge of your luggage all the way through. From collection at a layover airport to rechecking, make sure it moves along with you at every airport. Keep in mind that airlines may have different baggage regulations and policies – so be sure to follow them accordingly!
  3. Find out if you have a right to receive care. In certain instances, airlines must offer assistance. For example, when a flight has been delayed for 3 or over 3 hours. This is known as the ‘right to care‘. In case of 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.
  4. Keep in mind that you might be entitled to compensation. Not because you missed connecting flight, but because your flight was delayed or cancelled.
  5. Notify your travel insurance provider as soon as possible. Your travel insurance might cover the costs of booking a new flight. Contact your travel insurance provider as soon as you know you will miss your connecting flight. The insurance company may have specific procedures for making a claim, so be sure to follow their instructions.

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On a Tap Air Portugal Plane

How to Rebook a Missed Connecting Flight?

What happens if you miss your connecting flight?

One of the steps if to get yourself booked on a new flight. How to get a new flight ticket? Will the airline assist you?

If it’s an airline-protected transfer, your airline will book you on a new flight for free. No need to book the flight yourself. Contact your airline to rebook your missed connecting flight.

As soon as you realize you are going to miss your connecting flight, contact the airline’s customer service or go to the airline’s ticket counter at the airport. Explain your situation and ask if they can rebook you on the next available flight to your destination.

Ask the airline representative to provide you with a list of available flights to your destination. Check the flight schedules to find a flight that works for you and is available.

It’s important to act quickly if you miss a connecting flight, as availability on later flights may be limited. By contacting the airline as soon as possible and being flexible with your travel plans, you can increase your chances of getting a new flight ticket and reaching your destination faster.

If it’s a self transfer, you need to book the ticket yourself. And pay for it yourself, too. The airline is not responsible for self transfers. Your travel insurance might cover the costs.

Missed Connection Compensation

If you miss your connection, you may have a right to compensation.

In some cases, the airline has to pay you missed connecting flight compensation for the inconvenience.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to the airline’s fault, you can get money back from the airline. This is often called “missed connecting flight compensation.” You can get this money if you were traveling to or from Europe and you missed your connecting flight because of the airline.

This applies both to European airlines such as KLM, TAP and Lufthansa, and to non-European airlines like Turkish Airlines, American Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Missed Connection Compensation for a Self-Transfer Flight

With self transfer, it’s not as easy and stress-free.

You are less protected with self transfers. In case of a self transfer, all your flight legs are considered separate flights. 

  • You won’t get a new flight, because it’s a self transfer. Airlines are not responsible for self-transfer flights.
  • You won’t get a compensation, unless one of your flights is 3+ hours late. If it’s not, and it still causes you to miss your next flight, you can’t get compensation.

How to Minimize the Impact of Missing Your Connection?

The short answer is – buy travel insurance.

While an airline will book you on a new flight and provide with a free hotel stay (if it’s an airline-protected connection), you still might loose some money. You might miss your next transport connection, such as train or bus. Or it might be another flight (a self-transfer). The airline can only offer you assistance and free ticket for the missed connection – their flight. What is after that flight, it’s your responsibility.

In such cases, a travel insurance policy may provide coverage for any additional expenses you incur, such as new tickets, lodging, meals, and transportation.

Travel insurance will come in handy if you have a self-transfer flight.

What to do if you miss your connecting flight? Overall, the most important thing is to stay calm and communicate with the airline staff. They may be able to provide you with a solution or alternative options to get to your destination.

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

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