Missing a connection can extend your transit by hours, have added fees and interrupt your travel plans, but what should you do to minimise the effect of a missed connection?

By Annabel Fuller


The unthinkable just happened – you’ve missed your flight connection. Now you face hours of boredom during a long layover before you can get to where you’re going.

But what are you entitled to?

When you miss your connecting flight, the options available to you depend on whether:

  • The airline is responsible: If you missed your connection due to a cancellation or delay the airline is responsible for making arrangements to get you to your final destination.
  • You missed your flight for personal reasons: Maybe you fell asleep in the airport lounge or got too invested in the game showing at the sports bar, regardless of why you fail to board if you miss your flight for personal reasons you might lose your ticket entirely. However, you might receive some entitlements if you act quickly and contact the airline.

What Happens If You’ve Missed Your Connecting Flight?

If the Airline is Responsible:

In the event that you are unable to board your flight due to a cancellation or delay caused by the airline, you could be entitled to compensation.

Airlines are legally obligated to compensate you under the following circumstances:

  • The flight must be cancelled or delayed for more than three hours
  • The airline did not provide 14 days’ advance notice of the cancellation before the flight’s departure time
  • The airline is responsible for the delay (this excluded extraordinary circumstances like extreme weather)
  • All flights must be booked under the same booking reference

If you meet all of the above requirements, then the airline is required to provide you with the following privileges:

  • Providing you with refreshments
  • Paying for transportation to your accommodation
  • Providing non-local passengers with hotels if the missed connection requires passengers to stay overnight waiting for a new departure
  • Re-booking you on the next available flight for the same destination

If You Are Responsible:

Sometimes life happens and a quick nap, family emergency or fussy toddler can make you a no-show on your flight.

If you do find yourself in this situation you must contact the airline immediately.

Assuming you have missed your flight or are about to, contact the airline and explain your situation. If you want to book a new ticket you will likely be charged a change fee as well as any fare difference in your original ticket and the new one. Despite the extra charges, it’s better to pay a little extra than to completely lose your ticket.

Remember, if you’ve checked in and are in the terminal at the time of boarding and are a no-show you don’t qualify for any compensation, so you are at the mercy of the airline agents, so be extra nice when asking for their help.

If you checked luggage alert the agents so they can locate your baggage and ensure it is not sent stray.

We hope that these tips can assist you in times of frustration, annoyance and anger and find you on a safe onward journey.