What Happens If You Miss A Connecting Flight?

What Happens If You Miss A Connecting Flight

What happens if you miss a connecting flight? Will you be stranded in the airport, forced to shell out more money for a new flight, or will the airline have your back? Missing a connecting flight can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience, but fear not! 

In this article, we’ll explore what happens if you miss a connecting flight and provide you with tips and tricks on how to navigate this situation like a pro. 

What Happens If You Miss A Connecting Flight?

If you miss your connecting flight due to a flight delay or bad weather, most airlines have policies in place that will allow you to rebook on the next available flight. Depending on the airline, there may be different requirements and fees associated with this service. 

It’s important to contact the airline as soon as possible if you find out that you’ve missed your connection.

Before making any changes, check with your airline to determine their policy for rebooking flights. Some airlines may waive fees or provide other accommodations in certain circumstances such as severe weather delays or canceled flights. 

Other times, they may require you to pay an additional fee in order to change your ticket and get on a new flight. 

If this is the case, it may be worth considering your other options before making a decision. 

You may also want to check with the airline about their refund policy if you decide not to rebook your flight. 

Depending on the situation, some airlines may offer partial refunds for any unused portions of your ticket or allow you to transfer the value of your ticket to another flight at no additional cost. 

What Happens If You Miss Your Flight After Checking In?

Check-in Aisle

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash 

If you miss your flight after checking in, it is considered a “no-show” by the airline. When this happens, the airline can cancel the rest of your itinerary and there may be minimal options for refunds or rebooking. It is advisable to reach out to the airline in this case.

It’s important to reach out to the airline as soon as possible if you know that you won’t be able to make your flight. 

Depending on the fare class you have booked and any applicable travel policies, some airlines may offer partial reimbursement for missed flights due to extenuating circumstances such as illness or personal emergencies. 

However, airlines will typically not accept late arrivals so it’s important to plan ahead and arrive at least one hour before domestic scheduled flights and two hours prior to international flights. 

If you can’t avoid a no-show, contact the airline immediately to determine what options are available. 

Understanding the airline’s cancellation policy ahead of time may also be helpful and help avoid costly surprise fees or penalties.

Can You Reschedule A Flight If You Miss It?

If you’re running late and fear that you won’t make it to your flight, don’t panic – most airlines have an unofficial “flat tire” policy in place that will allow you to reschedule without penalty. To take advantage of this policy, contact the airline before your flight departs.

The airline representative can review their options with you, such as changing your ticket to a different flight or refunding the cost of the ticket. 

Most airlines are sympathetic to travelers who miss their flights due to unforeseen circumstances and are usually willing to work with them. 

However, if it’s determined that the delay was caused by negligence on your part, then the airline may not honor the flat tire policy. 

To ensure that you have the best chance at rescheduling your flight, contact the airline as soon as possible and provide details of why you can’t make it on time. 

This will give them a better understanding of your situation and allow them to help you in the best way possible.

Is It Better To Cancel A Flight Or Just Not Show Up?

Cancel Text

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

Canceling a flight ticket within 24 hours of booking can save money and also give you a chance to change or rebook your flight in case of any unforeseen changes. However, if the cancellation period has passed, it becomes more practical to simply not attend the flight. 

Most airlines will consider a no-show as the equivalent of an outright cancellation and treat it accordingly.

This means that there is usually not much difference in terms of costs between canceling your ticket and not showing up for your flight. 

For example, you might be charged an administrative penalty for both scenarios but this fee may vary depending on when you canceled or failed to show up. 

It’s important to remember that failing to show up for your flight may have other consequences. For example, if you book a return flight and decide not to show up for the first leg, then the airline may cancel your return ticket automatically in order to prevent double booking. 

Be sure to read the terms and conditions of each airline before making any decisions regarding cancellations or no-shows. 

Is There A Penalty For Missing A Connecting Flight?

The answer depends on the airline’s policies. Generally speaking, most airlines won’t charge you any extra money if you miss your flight due to uncontrollable circumstances. However, this does not mean that the airline will compensate you in any way for the incurred delay. 

Depending on the reason for the delay and the amount of time lost, some airlines may offer discounted fares or even rebooking options at no cost, while others stick to their policy and don’t offer any kind of compensation.

Here is a table summarizing the U.S. Airports with the longest delays:

Airports Percent of Flights Arriving Late
Newark Liberty International 26.5%
San Francisco International 22.4%
Logan International 22%
Denver International 21.6%
LaGuardia 24.5%
Orlando International Airport  20.6%
Chicago Midway 22%
Chicago O’Hare International 25.5%
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 21.9%
John F. Kennedy International Airport  20.6%
Dallas/Fort Worth International 23.3%

Here is a table summarizing the U.S. Airports with the fewest delays:

Airports Percent of Flights Arriving Late
Sacramento International 14%
Salt Lake City International 13.3%
Portland International 13.8%
Long Beach Airport 12.6%
Daniel K Inouye International 10.5%
John Wayne Airport-Orange County 14.7%
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International 14.9%
Lihue Airport 10.1%
Kahului Airport 12.7%
Ted Stevens Anchorage International 11%

What Happens To Your Checked Luggage If You Miss Your Connecting Flight?

If you miss your connecting flight and have to rebook, don’t worry—your checked luggage will be taken care of. Airlines are required to transfer your luggage with you to the new flight, even if it is scheduled differently than your original connection. 

This means that no matter what happens, your bags will arrive at their destination along with you. 

Additionally, some airlines may offer additional compensation or reimbursements in case of missed connections due to delays or cancellations. 

So the next time you board a plane for a long-haul journey with multiple connections, you can rest assured knowing that your baggage will make its way safely to where it needs to go even if there are any unexpected hiccups along the way. 

All you need to do is remember to keep the airline informed of your new travel plans and they’ll take care of the rest. 

The one thing you should be mindful of, however, is that if your connection time is too short, there may not be enough time for them to transfer your luggage over to your next flight. 

In this case, it’s best to contact the airline as soon as possible and make sure that all necessary arrangements have been made in order for your bags to arrive on time. 

Can You Leave The Airport And Come Back For A Connecting Flight?

Yes, you can. Leaving the airport during a layover can be a great way to explore a new city and break up long trips. However, it’s important to make sure you have enough time for your connecting flight. Since some airports require passport checks before entering the departure area.

In addition, some airlines will only guarantee that your luggage is transferred from an international flight to a domestic connection if you don’t leave the airport between flights. 

If you’re traveling internationally and would like to leave the airport during your layover, it’s best to check directly with your airline about their policies on this. 

It goes without saying that if you plan on leaving the airport during your layover, make sure you have a valid passport and any other necessary travel documents. 

Likewise, be aware of the local laws and customs regulations in the country you are visiting. 

Finally, make sure that you leave yourself with plenty of time to get back to the airport prior to your connecting flight. 

Airlines do not generally allow passengers who miss their connections to board later flights without paying additional fees or being subject to availability restrictions. 

What Do You Do If Your Flight Is Cancelled?

A man waiting for the next flight

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash 

If a flight is canceled, airlines will usually automatically rebook you on the next available flight. However, this may not be ideal for your schedule. When you receive a notification that your flight has been cancelled, visit the airline’s website to see if they’ve provided any options for rebooking. 

Try calling or texting a customer service agent will provide more flexibility and options for rebooking. Wait times may be long, but it pays off in the end! 

Note that if your flight was canceled within 24 hours of departure, many U.S.-based airlines will offer compensation in addition to rebooking services.

This could include hotel stays, meals, and other services to make your travel experience as smooth as possible. 

Do Airlines Have To Compensate For Cancelled Flights?

Under most circumstances, airlines are required to provide compensation for a canceled flight if the passenger was notified of the cancellation less than 14 days before their original scheduled departure date. This compensation may include reimbursements for the cost of the ticket, meals, and any other expenses.

However, there are certain circumstances when an airline may not be legally obligated to offer compensation. These scenarios usually involve extraordinary events such as weather conditions or natural disasters which make it impossible to operate a flight safely. 

In these cases, airlines will typically still offer some form of assistance or accommodation but they will not have to provide full financial reimbursement. 

It’s important to remember that while airlines do have certain regulations in place to protect the rights of passengers, they are not always required to provide compensation for canceled flights. 

If you experience a cancellation and would like to know what kind of assistance or compensation may be available, contact your airline directly to discuss your options. 

Is It Illegal To Book A Connecting Flight And Get Off At Layover?

Hidden city ticketing, or booking a flight with the intention of getting off at the layover city rather than the final destination, is perfectly legal. However, it can be risky and there are some factors to consider before making it a habit. 

First, airlines typically do not like hidden-city ticketing as it often means they lose revenue. 

To avoid being penalized, passengers should make sure they do not check any bags when using this type of ticketing technique. 

Additionally, because you are technically breaking your contract with the airline by skipping part of your itinerary, they could take action against you if they find out. 

Airlines may also ban passengers from future flights if caught engaging in hidden-city ticketing. Additionally, most airfare-protection programs do not cover this kind of activity, so you may be out of luck if something goes wrong. 

Despite these potential issues, some travelers believe that hidden city ticketing is a great way to save money. 

According to Business Insider, it can often result in significant savings compared to booking a nonstop flight or two separate flights. 

Before making the decision to go with hidden city ticketing, make sure you have done your research and understand all the risks associated with it. 

If done correctly, it could end up being an excellent way to save money on flights!


In conclusion, missing a connecting flight can be a stressful and frustrating experience, but knowing what to expect and how to handle the situation can help minimize any disruptions to your travel plans. 

Depending on the circumstances and the airline’s policies, you may be able to rebook your flight, retrieve your checked luggage, and make alternative travel arrangements.

To avoid missing your connecting flight, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time between flights and consider booking with the same airline or allowing enough time for transfer between terminals and/or airlines. 

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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