Missing a flight is every traveller’s nightmare. It could happen for several reasons. Sometimes the fault could be from the airline but most of the time, it is usually the fault of the traveller. You probably overslept, had a flat tire, family emergencies or other unnecessary delays, etc. Missing your flight can leave you feeling all queasy and panicky, but you shouldn’t dwell on that mood forever. You should take a deep breath, calm your nerves and do any of the following things when you miss your flight.
1. Contact the airline ASAP
Immediately you realize you would miss your flight – or already have – contact the airline. If you are in the airport, go straight to the gate agent or ticketing counter. Explain your predicament to them as politely as possible and ask them what alternatives are available for you. If you have membership status with the airline, emphasize it as the agents may be more willing to help.
If you are yet to arrive the airport, log onto the airport’s website and call your airline’s local number to connect to a gate agent or ticketing representative quicker than you would if you dialed the airline’s general number on your ticket. You may be asked to pay a change fee if the fare has gone up since you purchased your original ticket.
2. One-Way Tickets
If you’re more than two hours late, getting a new ticket is your next line of action. You may be tempted to buy a one-way ticket rather than pay an expensive change fee. If you buy a new one-way ticket, you are likely going to cancel your whole itinerary. The best option is to pay the change fee. However, if you’re on your return flight home, getting a cheap one-way ticket is something you should go for.
3. Call Ahead for Missed Connecting Flights
Usually, if you are coming in from another flight, the airline helps you book through to your final destination. In the event that you missed the connecting flight, the airline will likely place you on standby for the next available flight.
4. Remember the Flat Tire Rule.
Some airlines have unwritten rules that can make them consider you when the reasons you missed your flight are beyond your control. This is called the Two-Hour Rule or the Flat Tire Rule. The rule states that if you, as a passenger, arrive within two hours of your missed flight, the airline employee will place you on standby on another flight with the same airline at no charge. If you miss the last flight of the day, you’ll be on standby for the first flight for the following day. This means that, if you arrive at the airport within two hours of your missed flight with a reasonable excuse for doing so, the airline may relinquish change fees and other additional charges.
5. Inform Your Hotel
Now you know what to do when you miss your flight. Do not beat yourself if it happens again. It can happen to anyone, even to the most punctual and meticulous people in the world. Just relax, calm your nerves and ask for help.