Car wouldn’t start, woke up late or just had a series of unlucky events. The list of things that may make us miss our flight is endless and unfortunately there is no way of preventing most of them. If you travel regularly and fly often you are going to miss your flight eventually. To make your terrible experience a little better and make it easier for others to help you, it’s good to know beforehand what to do when you are late for your flight. There are many things you should and shouldn’t do at this kind of situation. Here are the most important ones to remember so you will be prepared to survive your first (or yet another) missed flight.
Take deep breath and consider your options. Missing your flight isn’t going to be the end of the world, even if for a moment it may seem that way. So, keep your cool and remember to be considerate to everyone. That may help you go a long way. To solve your “I missed my flight” problem you may have to talk with many people and no one wants to help a rude, yelling customer.
Contact the Airline
First things first, contact the airline before doing anything else. You will find airline’s contact information from your flight ticket. If you are lucky, they may have solution ready for your problem. This step is extremely important if you are going to be only a few minutes late. Your airline may be willing to wait for you for those critical minutes when you are running through the airport.
Sometimes flights are over booked and they are already trying to find people who would want to change their flight time. Or your ticket may be eligible to be refunded or rescheduled and, in that case, contacting the airline saves you from doing the unnecessary trip to airport.
When you have warned airline in advance it may be easier to get help when booking your new flight. There’s no harm in asking nicely for an alternative flight or discount on the new tickets. Maybe they will take pity on you. Just remember to be polite and pleasant. They are not required to give you tickets if you have bought a non-refundable ticket.
Keep Heading Towards the Airport
Keep travelling towards the airport and do it as fast as you can. If contacting airline hasn’t helped, continue on your way to the airport and try speaking with airline’s customer service clerk face to face. Remember to be civil and polite. They don’t have any obligation to accommodate you, so make sure you make the best impression possible. You want them on your side. Smile even if you are stressed out and don’t have any idea how to get out of this situation.
You may have to wait but hopefully they can help you. If your ticket isn’t refundable or you can’t get discount on another ticket next step is to buy a new one. Take your time and decide if you want to use the same airline or different one. You are already at the airport so you may be able to find a cheap last minute flight deal.
Don’t Buy a New Ticket in a Panic
When you start looking for new flight tickets remember to check the status of your connecting and return flights. If you have bought a round trip ticket (or flights between places A-B-C) your other flight reservations may have been cancelled because you missed the first one. Buying a ticket only for the missed flight come back to bite you and cost some extra money. Ask for information from your airline before making the decisions to purchase your new ticket.
Contact Everyone Else
After taking care of the immediate flight issues, don’t forget to contact airlines for any connecting flights you have purchased separately. Also remember to take care of your accommodations. Call the hotel and share your unfortunate situation. You may be able to convince them to not charge you for the night you miss. At the very least, you can make sure they do not cancel your reservation as a no show. The last thing you want is to show up and have no place to stay. Other things you may have to do are contacting people that are waiting for you and rescheduling anything you have planned on the days you will miss because of the missed flight.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
Some travel insurance plans cover missed or canceled flights. You should always read the fine print before purchasing travel insurance so you know in advance in which situations the plan will cover your additional expenses. If the worst-case scenario happens you will be ready. Contact them before buying new tickets and ask what to do so you will not lose the chance of getting your money back or new tickets without cost.
And finally, remember…
You will survive like all the people before you who have missed their flights. Trying to blame other people and running around without a plan isn’t going to help anyone. You will end up in even deeper trouble if you aggravate the people who can help you or make rash decisions. Keep your calm, contact your airline, and you will survive the unfortunate event just fine.