Don’t panic! What to do if you miss your flight

If you miss your flight, don’t panic. There are things to do to get your on your way again as quickly as possible. Source: Aedka Studio/Shutterstock

I’M sure all of us have at least once been a little too close for comfort when it comes to getting to our gate on time. Whether you’ve got a tight connection or your stranded in traffic, that unsettling panic that comes over you as you realize you’re about to miss your flight is not something I would wish on anyone.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable, and knowing exactly what to do next can help ease the strain of the entire process.

What to do as soon as you realize  

Once you realize your flight is doomed, it’s best to get hold of the airline as soon as possible. So, while you’re sitting in your cab in that stationary jam, get on your phone and give them a call.

“If someone knows they will be missing the flight prior to departure,” flight attendant Kelly Kincaid told Travel + Leisure, “it’s good policy (and manners) for that passenger to notify the airline. Most flights nowadays have standby passengers awaiting that precious open seat.”

This can also improve your chances of getting on to a later flight if there’s space.

Asia Pacific

Be prepared to sprint when you get to the airport. Sometimes the gate will stay open up to 10 minutes before departure. Source: Hanson Lu / Unsplash

If you do manage to make it to the airport and you’ve got only minutes to spare, don’t despair just yet. Gates will often stay open just minutes before departure and flights tend have a 10-15 minute window from their scheduled departure time. So if you’re prepared to sprint, you might still stand a chance.

Once the plane leaves the runway

Nine times out of 10, you won’t be able to get on a later flight without forking out some extra cash.

Depending on the airline, you may be charged a re-booking fee to get on another flight. Some will also require you to pay the difference in airfare to change times.

Most common these days, especially with the low cost carriers like Air Asia, you will have to purchase a new ticket in full for the next available flight. At such short notice, this can sometimes mean you’re stuck with high fares and little choice.

If you’ve booked a return flight, the return journey will still be valid.

Once your plane has left the tarmac, check out the departures board for the next available flight. Source: beeboys/Shutterstock

As you arrive at the airport, resist the urge to go begging at the booking desk. Take a minute or two to assess the departures board to weigh up what your options are. Ideally you want to find a later flight with the same airline as this may keep your costs down, but it’s worth checking out other airlines in case you can get a last-minute deal that saves you a few pennies. Present these options at the check-in counter to speed up the process.

Most major airlines will have a booking desk and customer service in the airport terminal, chat to them to see what your best options are.

Where’s my luggage?

If you’ve missed a connecting flight, your first concern might be where the heck your luggage is. It can happen, if you’re held up at security for example, that your luggage makes it to the plane before you do.

In this instance, go straight to an airline representative. The little tag they place on your suitcase at check-in means they should be able to track your bags and make sure they are held securely until you can join them in your final destination.

The panic of missing a flight is something most of take extra measures to avoid. But if you’re one of the few people out there who make a habit of missing their flight for whatever reason, it’s time to get more organized. Some airlines have been known to ban repeat offenders, making life, and your travel options, much more difficult.