‘I’ve Missed My Flight!’ Here’s what To DoBy Mirela Necsutu, Fri, Feb 28, 2020
Stuck in traffic? Alarm clock didn’t go off? There’s nothing quite like the complete panic that shocks your system when you realized you’re going to miss your flight. But don’t give up on your trip – we’ve got the inside-scoop on how to get your travel plans back on track.
If you’ve missed – or almost missed – your flight, first take a minute to freak out. Then, when you have that out of your system and your wits about you again, take one of these next steps to correct your course.
If you’re coming in from another flight, even if it is from another airline, most of the time the airline will take care of booking you through to your final destination. If you have missed your connection, take heart that you will likely be placed on the next available flight on standby.
If you’re in this situation, call ahead to the airline to be sure you can pick up your bags. They will arrive before you, so simply letting the baggage claim agent know will help expedite the process. Also, call your hotel and ground transport if you will be arriving much later than expected.
Call the Local Phone Number
What happens if it isn’t the airline’s fault you’ve missed your flight? What if you’re on the ground? Many times, the airline’s general phone number is on your e-ticket or receipt. However, that will take you to a main line and getting through to your direct airport will take some time.
When you’re about to or have just missed a flight, those minutes will feel like hours. Instead, if you can get online, go to the website for the airport you’re flying from. All airports have some sort of airline contact information page, with local numbers for each airline that services that location. Call the reservations desk straight away to speak with a gate agent or ticketing rep.
Before The Gate Closes
If you call before the gate closes on your flight, there is a much higher chance that you will be able to switch to another flight without too much fuss. Be nice and briefly explain your circumstances. But please, no long explanations or tearful stories. Frankly, they don’t care and they’re too busy to listen to all of that.
By contacting them before your plane has left, there’s a decent probability that you’ll be able to change to a different flight that day. Beware, however, that change fees are steep. Politely ask if the fee can be waived or reduced, as many gate agents do have that power.
If you arrive after check-in closes you’re probably out of luck and getting a new ticket is next up on your agenda. If you’re on the first part of your itinerary, you can’t just buy a one-way ticket rather than paying an expensive change fee. This will usually cancel your whole itinerary. Your best bet is to pay the change fee. However, if you’re on your return flight home and your bags are already ahead of you, getting a cheap one-way ticket is a great solution. Go for it!
The most important thing is not to beat yourself up about missing a flight. It happens to even the most punctual, seasoned traveler. Going with the flow, being flexible and being kind even when you’re stressed out is part of travel and part of life. Take a deep breath and ask for help. You’ll get where you want to go.
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