One of the most stressful things about flying is when there’s a connecting flight to catch and worrying whether you’ll make it in time. Even when traveling with the same airline on both legs of the journey, any delay will likely make you anxious during the flight, as you’ll be concerned about whether you’ll make the connection.
And if there’s a delay, there’s no way to know for sure while onboard because the flight attendants cannot provide any guidance. You just have to sit, wait, and hope for the best.
Landing and Running to Make Your Connecting Flight
When landing at the airport with no information, you often have to rush to the right gate to check whether it’s too late to board your connecting flight.
If the connection between the two legs is a popular one and the same airline is laying on both flights, it’s possible they’ll have a representative at arrivals to provide some advice.
The advice they provide could be exactly where to go to make the connection and that they’ve held the departure back a short duration to allow passengers to make their second flight.
However, it might be to convey that there’s insufficient time left make it to the gate before the next plane departs or to confirm that the plane is airborne already.
Missing a Connecting Flight from a Different Airline
With different flights using multiple, unrelated airlines, the concern about making the connection lies squarely with the passenger.
A delay with one flight might well cause a loss of the connection with the second airline. Sometimes, local airlines work cooperatively where one airline takes another’s passengers under their branding. In this situation, there’s sometimes more concern shown about the problem of catching your follow-on connection.
It’s always previously been difficult to get compensation when flying using multiple airlines. They may try to appease disgruntled passengers who are vocal about missing their connection by offering vouchers for a discounted flight in the future.
It’s a tricky situation for the originating airline in the age of social media because customers can complain immediately online even when the flight delay was due to a random event like bad weather preventing a timely take-off or landing.
Missing a Connecting Flight on the Same Airline
When the same airline is operating multiple flights for your journey, the situation is a little different. For one thing, they’re more likely to have a representative meet the first flight at the gate to guide passengers taking the connection.
With the same airline operating both flights where a flight connection was missed, an airline might arrange a booking on a follow-up flight later that same day or the next day.
Usually, a hotel booking is offered for an overnight stay when the replacement flight is the next day; food vouchers usable in the airport’s restaurants might be offered when the connecting flight is later in the day. These usually don’t fully cover the higher cost of meals in airport restaurants though.
It’s fair to say that the extra expenses and inconvenience caused by missing a flight are usually costlier than the indirect compensation offered by the airline. What can be done about that?
Getting Compensated in the EU for Missing Flights
The EU regulation 261/2004 provides cash compensation with missed connecting flights. These either took off from an EU airport and were operated by a global airline or when arriving in an EU airport on an EU airline.
The Missed Connection Compensation payment relates only when buying two or more flights on a single ticket. When purchasing separate tickets for each flight, this falls outside of the EC 261 regulation.
The maximum compensation for missing a flight is €600. Each situation is individually reviewed to confirm what the appropriate compensation should be. The minimum requirement for qualifying periods is a three-hour delay.
The reason for missing the connection could be due to a variety of factors including bad weather, a technical malfunction, etc.
The connecting flight could have been canceled too. Also, not being allowed to board the next plane could be a valid reason. The merits of each compensation claim are considered to see whether the case qualifies.
It’s good to know if you miss a connecting flight, there’s a good chance that you’ll be compensated. Even for the additional costs and inconvenience caused.
Passengers no longer have to accept a paltry offer of a couple of free meals. Even a simple apology when their meticulous travel plans have been scattered to the wind.
There are now better options to be properly rewarded when connections aren’t made through no fault of the passenger. For frustrated frequent flyers tired of cancellations, delays and missed connections, it’s about time too.