What Happens If I Miss My Connecting Flight?

Missing a connecting flight can be a nerve-wracking experience for any traveler. With some flights only leaving once or twice a day, a missed connection could mean being stranded at the airport for hours or having to completely rearrange your travel plans on the fly.

Luckily, airlines have procedures in place to assist passengers who miss connections due to circumstances outside of their control. Read on to find out exactly what happens if you miss a connecting flight and how to make the best of the situation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: If you miss your connecting flight due to a delay or cancellation of your initial flight, the airline will typically rebook you on the next available flight to your final destination free of charge.

You may be entitled to compensation like meal vouchers or a hotel stay if the new flight isn’t until the next day.

The Airline Will Rebook You on the Next Available Flight

Missing a connecting flight can be a frustrating experience, but rest assured that the airline will typically rebook you on the next available flight to your final destination. Airlines understand that unexpected delays and circumstances can occur, and they strive to accommodate passengers in these situations.

You’ll be booked on the airline’s next flight to your final destination

When you miss your connecting flight, the airline will work to find the next available flight that will get you to your final destination. They have systems in place to manage rebooking and will make every effort to minimize your inconvenience.

This may involve booking you on a later flight operated by the same airline or a partner airline.

Seats are subject to availability

While the airline will rebook you on the next available flight, it’s important to note that seats are subject to availability. If the next flight is already fully booked, you may have to wait for a later flight or explore alternative options.

The airline will assist you in finding the best solution, which may include flying on a different airline or rerouting your journey.

You may have to fly standby if the flight is full

In some cases, if the flight you were originally booked on is full and there are no available seats on the next flights, the airline may offer you the option to fly standby. This means that you will be placed on a standby list and will be given a seat if there are any no-shows or last-minute cancellations.

While flying standby can be uncertain, it can be a way to get on a flight sooner rather than later.

It’s important to communicate with the airline staff and stay updated on the rebooking process. They will provide you with information on the available options and assist you in getting to your final destination as smoothly as possible.

You May Be Entitled to Amenities Like Food and Accommodation

Missing a connecting flight can be a frustrating experience, but it’s important to know that you may be entitled to certain amenities to make your wait more comfortable. Airlines have policies in place to provide assistance to passengers in such situations, so it’s worth understanding what you could be eligible for.

Meal vouchers if you have a long wait at the airport

If you find yourself with a significant wait time between your connecting flights, the airline may provide you with meal vouchers to ensure you don’t go hungry. These vouchers can be used at designated restaurants or cafes within the airport, allowing you to enjoy a meal or snack while you wait for your next flight.

It’s a small gesture, but it can make a big difference in keeping you fed and satisfied during a potentially stressful situation.

Overnight hotel stay if your new flight is the next day

If your missed connection means that you have to spend the night at the airport, you may be eligible for an overnight hotel stay. Airlines understand that unexpected delays or cancellations can disrupt travel plans, and they aim to provide accommodation for passengers who are stranded overnight.

This can give you the opportunity to rest and freshen up before continuing your journey the next day. It’s a welcome relief, especially after a long day of traveling.

Ground transportation to/from the hotel

In addition to a hotel stay, airlines may also arrange ground transportation to and from the hotel. This ensures that you have a hassle-free journey from the airport to your accommodation and back. Whether it’s a shuttle service or a taxi, the airline will make the necessary arrangements to ensure your comfort and convenience.

It’s a thoughtful gesture that can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with a missed connecting flight.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific airline and the circumstances of the missed connection. It’s always a good idea to check with airline staff or refer to the airline’s website for detailed information on their policies and procedures in such situations.

Remember, missing a connecting flight can be frustrating, but knowing your entitlements can help make the experience a little less stressful. So, the next time you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to ask the airline for the amenities you may be eligible for. Bon voyage!

Compensation Depends on the Cause of Missed Connection

When it comes to missed connecting flights, the type and amount of compensation you are entitled to depends on the reason behind the missed connection. Airlines have different policies and regulations in place to address these situations, and it is important to understand your rights as a passenger.

Full compensation if airline’s fault (e.g. delayed earlier flight)

If you miss your connecting flight due to a delay or cancellation of your earlier flight, the responsibility lies with the airline. In such cases, airlines are typically obligated to provide you with full compensation.

This compensation may include providing you with an alternative flight, offering you a refund, or even covering any additional expenses you may incur as a result of the missed connection.

Limited compensation for uncontrollable issues like weather or air traffic

Unfortunately, there are certain situations that are beyond the control of the airline, such as severe weather conditions or air traffic congestion. In these cases, the compensation you are entitled to may be limited.

Airlines may offer you assistance in finding an alternative flight, but they are not typically required to provide full compensation for the missed connection. It is always a good idea to check the airline’s specific policies in these situations.

No compensation if you miss connection due to own error

If you miss your connecting flight due to your own error, such as arriving late at the airport or not allowing enough time between flights, the airline is not usually responsible for providing any compensation.

It is important to plan your journey carefully and allow sufficient time for connections to avoid any unnecessary stress or financial loss.

Remember, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the airline’s terms and conditions regarding missed connections. This will help you understand your rights and what to expect in different scenarios.

If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to contact the airline directly for clarification.

Tips for Making the Best of the Situation

Be proactive – go to airline desk/app as soon as you realize you’ll miss connection

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re about to miss your connecting flight, it’s important to act quickly. As soon as you realize that you won’t make it in time, head straight to the airline desk or use the airline’s app to notify them of your situation.

By being proactive and alerting the airline, you increase your chances of finding a suitable solution.

Have backup contact info/payment method if booking new flight

When faced with a missed connecting flight, it’s essential to have backup contact information and payment methods readily available. This will come in handy if you need to book a new flight or make alternative travel arrangements.

Keep a copy of your travel itinerary, airline customer service numbers, and any relevant travel insurance information easily accessible.

Pack essentials like medication in carry-on in case bags are delayed

One of the potential complications of missing a connecting flight is the possibility of delayed or lost luggage. To avoid any inconvenience, make sure to pack essential items, such as medication, in your carry-on bag.

This way, even if your checked bags are delayed, you’ll have the necessary items with you to manage your well-being.

Stay patient and polite – gate agents can be more helpful

While it can be frustrating to miss a connecting flight, it’s important to remain patient and polite when dealing with airline staff. Gate agents are more likely to be helpful and accommodating if you approach them with kindness and understanding.

Remember, they deal with numerous travelers and unexpected situations regularly, so maintaining a positive attitude can go a long way in finding a satisfactory solution.

Your Rights If You Miss an International Connection

Missing a connecting flight can be a stressful and frustrating experience, especially when traveling internationally. However, it is important to know that you still have certain rights and options available to you.

Understanding these rights can help you navigate the situation more effectively and potentially minimize any inconvenience caused by the missed connection.

EU passengers can claim €600 compensation under some conditions

If you are an EU passenger and you miss a connecting flight due to reasons within the airline’s control, such as delays or cancellations, you may be entitled to compensation. According to EU regulations, you can claim up to €600 in compensation, depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay caused by the missed connection.

It’s important to note that compensation is not guaranteed in all cases, so it’s advisable to check the specific conditions and requirements set by the airline.

Non-EU flyers have fewer protections – check airline policies

For non-EU passengers, the rights and protections in case of a missed connection may vary depending on the airline and the specific circumstances. It is crucial to review the airline’s policies and terms and conditions regarding missed connections before you travel.

Some airlines may offer assistance, such as rebooking on the next available flight or providing accommodation if necessary, while others may not provide any guarantees. Being aware of these policies beforehand can help you make informed decisions and take appropriate action in case of a missed connection.

Consider travel insurance for missed connection coverage

One way to protect yourself against the potential financial burden of a missed connection is to purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for such situations. Travel insurance policies often offer compensation for additional expenses incurred due to missed connections, such as accommodation, meals, and transportation.

However, it is important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to ensure that missed connections are covered and to understand any limitations or exclusions that may apply.

Remember, in case you miss an international connection, it is recommended to stay calm and approach airline staff or customer service representatives for assistance. They may be able to provide alternative options or solutions to help you reach your destination as smoothly as possible.

Additionally, keeping documentation of the missed connection, such as boarding passes and communication with the airline, can be helpful when filing any claims or seeking compensation.


Missing a connecting flight can definitely put a wrench in your travel plans. However, airlines have procedures in place to rebook you and provide amenities when delays are out of your control. Be proactive, stay calm, and know your rights to make the best of an unpleasant situation.

With some flexibility and patience, you’ll be back on track toward your final destination.

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