We have all seen those programmes where people miss flights due to, what I can only call stupidity and incompetence. As a family, we have sat around the TV laughing and commenting at those people that manage to arrive at an airport without their passports or after the flight has departed.
I mean, who actually does that? Who turns up to fly to a foreign country without their ID? It always amazes me that these people feel that they should be able to fly anywhere without valid proof of who they are.
And as for those that don’t allow enough time to get to the airport. HELLO! Everyone knows you have to leave a good couple of hours before flight time to now get through the stricter security checks – you know the ones where you have to take off your shoes, remove all liquids over 100ml, take all the modern technology out of your bag and place in a separate box to be scanned. So why risk being late and running through the terminal with just minutes to spare before the doors are closed?
Why? Because we love to push boundaries and see how far we can get.
Realistically missing a flight can happen to even the most prepared travellers but its knowing what to do when you miss a flight that is important, especially for your wallet.
It is important to know what you can and can’t claim for, what you should and shouldn’t say and also what evidence you need to collect for those pesky insurance companies.
What Flight Compensation are you Entitled to?
Firstly, the thing to remember is that not all missed flights can be claimed for. If for example, you missed a flight because one of the airlines didn’t inform you about a change to departure time, you may be able to make a claim. If you booked a package holiday and the holiday provider didn’t allow for enough time to transfer you back to the airport, once again you are within your rights to claim for a refund. If however, you are personally to blame for your inability to get to the airport on time, or even to check in on time because the check-in queue was going too slowly, the chances of getting any compensation are very slim.
If you are to blame, you also need to remember that, if they can rearrange your flight, there is likely to be a penalty charge that you need to pay in order for the ticket to be altered. No amount of screaming at the individual behind the desk will change that – although it does give other passengers a bit of entertainment while they are waiting quietly in the queue behind you.
For those that do miss their flight, there is also something called the ‘flat-tyre’ rule. Basically, what it means is that if you arrive up to two hours after your initial flight time if you explain that the reason for your delay is down to perhaps a flat tyre, an accident or something similar than chances are they will attempt to move you onto the next departing flight which is a god-send when you have been stuck on the motorway for four hours due to a horrendous pile up whilst trying to get to Heathrow. I would suggest that if you know you are going to miss your flight because of a ‘flat-tyre’ incident that you do at least contact the airline provider to give them a heads up. This will of course, only help your case when you finally make it to the airport and pleading to get onto the next available plane.
What about however, when you miss a connecting flight?
What to do When You Miss a Connecting Flight
When we are booking flights we try to leave as much time as possible between connecting flights without it turning into a full-on camp out session in the terminal building. We have never opted for a flight that has less than a two hour stop-over and even then sometimes we question whether we have left ourselves enough time.
Sometimes though, tardiness is not our fault but that of the airlines. As a passenger we could have done absolutely everything right. We can arrive for our initial flight in plenty of time only to find out that there is an extreme delay which is going to have dreadful knock-on effects to your further travel plans. For this reason, we always try to book all flights with the same provider, or at the very least a sister provider, because realistically we know that they will need to help us get to our final destination.
It is not always as simple as that however, so what are you entitled to if you have booked connecting flights with numerous different companies?
Flight Compensation for Connecting Flights
Under EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation there are now several things that passengers of missed connecting flights are entitled to.
#1 Monetary Compensation
Depending on how far you travel you could gain up to €600 per person (with a minimum of €250 up for grabs) if you are delayed for more than 3 hours before reaching your final destination. It doesn’t even matter if your connecting flight was with a competing airline as long as the ticket issues is valid for all flights taken.
#2 Refreshments and Accommodation
Airports are notoriously expensive but because people are in a holiday mood it is pushed under the carpet and people tend to ignore that their normal £3.50 beer is now £7.50. This is of course until your flight is delayed.
However, if your flight is delayed by more than 2 hours, whether it is your first or connecting flight, the airline company has to provide you with snacks and refreshments. While these vouchers only really allow for a sandwich and a bottle of water what we need to remember is that every little thing helps. Plus it makes you feel slightly better about the company and are more likely to reused them again in the future.
On top of that, if you are delayed overnight no one should be forced to stay in the terminal. Overnight hotel accommodation should be provided to all those delayed and provide the transportation to get you there and back.
If this doesn’t happen and you have to arrange things for yourself make sure you keep all receipts as proof of purchase that you will need in order to make a claim. Also, bear in mind that airlines are not going to pay for top-notch ultra luxurious hotels. I understand you may be frustrated but you also need to remain reasonable if not you will be out-of-pocket in the long run.
#3 Full Refund After 5 hours
If you decide for whatever reason that you do not want to continue any further with your planned trip and the delay is in excess of 5 hours, you can request a full refund from the airline.
In order to get compensation however, there are a few things you need to do.
How do I Guarantee Compensation Will be Paid?
In order for your claim to be considered you do need to do several things including:
#1 Gain Written Confirmation
The airline needs to issue you with something in writing that highlights all the reasons for the flight cancellation or delay.
#2 Collect Proof
Photos, receipts documenting any expense incurred, tickets, vouchers, phone calls and anything else you believe you can claim for. No receipt will equal no money back.
#3 Exchange contact details
There is nothing better than a group supporting one another when trying to get a tricky claim through with a big organisation so make sure you collect phone numbers or email addresses from others in the same situation. Having contact with other passengers is often the leverage you need for your claim to be processed at speed.
Finally, remember that all of this compensation is through the airline and not your insurance company so it may well be worth also looking at your Travel Insurance Policy Documents to see whether you are eligible to gain anything further.
Regardless of how persistent you are, when it comes to claiming for a connecting flight, remember you do qualify for something. Knowledge is key in situations like this and now you are aware of what your are entitled to next time you miss that connection make sure to claim for what is rightfully yours.
Have you missed a connecting flight in the past? How long were you waiting around for? Do you put in a claim?