This may have happened to you before, or you may be wondering what will happen should you run into the dilemma. Sometimes, whether it’s due to a late takeoff, tarmac delay, weather issues or other problems, you fly on an airplane that misses a connecting flight.
More often than not, since it was not your fault, you’ll be able to receive some form of compensation such as catching the next flight to your destination. But there still are things to keep in mind for flight delay rights should it happen.
I experienced this myself earlier this year, when was delayed for 5 hours in Dubai airport on the way from Sydney. It had never even occurred to me at the time that I may be entitled to compensation!
Instances Where You Will Be Compensated For Missed Connections
If you are traveling on an airline based in the EU, or even another airline that’s taking off from or landing in an EU country, you are entitled to a missed connecting flight compensation if it was the fault of the airline. Note that you’ll have to have arrived at your destination at least three hours later than the scheduled arrival time, and the delay cannot have been caused by extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.
This is due to the EU 261. According to Travel Refund, the EU 261 “was intended to create a system of accessible compensation for flight delays or cancellations, and it continues to keep airlines honest.” The US has even less flight delay rights and compensation entitlements than the EU, although many US and EU based airlines will at least offer a ticket on the next available flight provided your whole trip was booked on the same airline.
The EU rules even provide for food compensation and lodging in some cases. Some US flights will also provide this, although they usually are not required to.
Instances Where You Probably Will Not Be Compensated For Missed Connections
If you have a layover at the airport you’re making your connecting flight at and you delay on your own to get to the boarding area, compensation and flight delay rights usually can’t be used. You may be able to get a ticket for the next connecting flight, but you’ll probably be charged a change fee.
If your connecting flight is with another airline, you may or may not receive compensation from the airline who caused your delay, although this again could depend on whether EU laws apply to the circumstance. Weather delays also don’t require compensation, although many airlines will still offer booking on the next flight free without any meals or lodging compensation.
The Best Way To Get Compensation
If you get caught in a situation where you miss a connecting flight, you should always speak to the flight counter attendant first to see if they can rebook your flight first, provided your trip can still go as planned.
If they’re unable to help you, you should call the airline’s corporate customer service line and have all pertinent booking information handy to make sure you get your problem resolved as quickly as possible. You may also get help at their website or social media page. It also pays to carry travelers insurance so you can get compensated for things the airline won’t compensate you for if it isn’t their fault.
If the airline isn’t helping you, you can contact the appropriate authority or get in touch with a compensation agency that has a legal team ready to help you. But make sure you have used all your other less exhaustive resources first before doing this.
The bottom line
The bottom line is there is almost always some recourse you can take if you miss a connecting flight and it wasn’t in any way your fault. It’s best to try and leave room for potential delays to avoid hassles, but if you have to file complaints against an airline acting in bad faith or in violation of your flight delay rights, you should have a little patience for what could be a bit of a long and drawn out process.