5 Things to Do When You Miss Your Flight

Have you ever missed your flight? I have, twice. It's quite ironic, given the idea that I used to work for airlines, and tardiness is considered one of the biggest sins in the aviation industry. But yeah, I've missed my flights in the past.

The first was a flight from Padang to Jakarta when I traveled with a group of fellow students, and our chaperone was so sure that we weren't gonna miss the flight, but we did. I have to admit, this event is probably why I prefer traveling on my own to doing it with a group.

The other one was the last flight I took from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta. It was basically my fault, if not the website glitching. I was so sure I booked for the afternoon flight when I purchased the ticket on my netbook. But by the time I arrived at the airport, as it turned out, I actually bought the morning flight and missed it by a few hours.

What to Do When You Miss Your Flight

departure board at the airport.
Source: Burst.

Missing your flight is stressful, irritating, and mentally drained for sure. I'm not gonna lie. If you missed your flight because of someone else, rest assured you'd kinda hold a grudge against them. If it was your fault, you'd be mad at yourself for being so careless. I've been there, once for each.

More often than not, there's nothing much you can do about missing your flight but you can try to minimize the damage when it happens to you. That, unless you've purchased flight insurance that allows you to claim for canceled flights. Even so, most likely your insurance has specific requirements on what kind of cancellations that enables you to file a claim.

So, what could you do when you miss your flight?

AirHelp+ 300X50

1. Familiarize yourself with the airline's policy.

I know, no one reads the terms and conditions written on the back of your flight ticket. But it helps to know some policies they have to see if there's a loophole you could use when you miss your flight. To be fair though, most likely, it never happens.

When you miss your flight, be prepared to purchase another ticket. The only thing you could do to anticipate the worst-case scenario on your travel is by buying travel insurance. Some insurances offer compensation if you miss your flight, so you might as well take it to be safe than sorry, in case it happens.

If you need to reschedule your flight beforehand, find out when is the maximum time of rescheduling it in the airlines. Some airlines have a maximum of 4 (four) hours to change your ticket, some have 6 hours. Others may have more than that, so it's important to know the policy of the airlines you're flying with.

While there might be some extra fee to reschedule your flight, at least there's no need to pay for a whole new flight for the new ticket. I think you and I agree that we should spend as little money as possible. After all, why pay more when you can spend less, right?!

2. Purchase a new ticket.

Yep, when you miss your flight, chances are you have to buy a new ticket. That's why you may want to know the airline's policy to see if you could get a discounted ticket if you're forced to book a new flight as you missed the previous one.

Not trying to kill your hope, but from the two flights I've missed before, none of the airlines had that kind of policy, so I ended up buying a new ticket at full price.

The best thing you could do is to see if other airlines have the same route as your destination and compare prices. If you book a same-day flight, you may not be able to use a credit card for the payment. In that case, cash is the key when you miss a flight and need to catch the next one as soon as possible.

3. Stay at the airport if needed.

Maybe your next flight isn't until the next day, and you want to stretch your budget and avoid booking a hotel room. And that's okay, because you can always stay at the airport and wait until your next flight. It's even luckier if you happen to depart from a big airport with some snooze room facilities.

If your visa period is a problem, you might as well want to check in super early and wait in the boarding room. Better wait there for hours than having to deal with the CIQ (Custom, Immigration, and Quarantine), right?

a hotel room.
Source: Burst.

4. Extend your stay, and book a flight for another day.

Since a go-show ticket is usually expensive, if it's cheaper to extend your stay and book a flight for the other day, then you might want to do it. After all, you can always see a blessing in disguise.

You probably miss a flight, but maybe it will only allow you to explore more of the city. Or else, you can also book a hotel near the airport with a more affordable (or even free!) airport transfer to save the transportation cost.

The downside of missing your flight is that you won't be the best version of yourself. Most likely, you'd get panic to the point that you couldn't think clearly to solve your problem. Even worse when you're broke.

On my last flight, I stayed for one more night at the airport hotel as the other options would cost me more, and I would prefer to stay as frugal as possible.

5. Look into another transportation option.

If nothing works, maybe it's better to see if you have any option other than the flight to reach your destination. Bus or train could be more affordable, even though it might take a longer time to get there. But if budget is your concern, that could be the best option in your distress, right?

In my case, when I missed the flight from both Padang and Kuala Lumpur, the flight was pretty much the only option for me. Technically, I could find a bus from Padang to Jakarta, but it would take days, and I wasn't really prepared to travel that long on the road.

girl sitting on a trolley bag.
Source: Pexels.

Can we complain to the airlines if we miss our flight?

Missing your flight could feel like the end of the day, and it's understandable if it gets the worst out of you.

When I worked as ground staff for one of the airlines in Indonesia, I faced many passengers who missed their flights for a lot of reasons. I remember one of them missed their flight, and she cried at the airport because she was supposed to catch a flight to go to her dad's funeral.

As a human being, I was sympathetic for her. I've never been in her shoes, but I could understand her frustration. However, as airline staff, there's nothing much I could do. The airlines have their own policy, and no employee is bigger than the policy itself.

The best I could advise you is to check-in online if you think you'll arrive at the airport at the last minute. That way, airport staff might wait for your arrival and call you out through the public announcement.

But honestly though, from both passenger and airline staff perspectives, I'd definitely suggest just arrive early at the airport because missing a flight really drains you emotionally and financially. Avoid it at all costs, so you can stay away from the stress caused by missing your flight.

So, have you ever missed a flight? Share your experience in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉


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