What To Do If You Miss A Flight? Things You Can Do To Save Your Trip

Unlike buses, taxis, or trains, it will take some time until the next flight comes. Probably way after your scheduled trip. The only thing coming is panic. But that does not help too much. 

So, besides panicking, what to do if you missed a flight? It is a bad situation but can be made to be more tolerable. Today we will walk you through a series of actions you can take to save the day.  

Immediately continue your travel

These will be the solutions you want to consider if you want to immediately proceed with your journey. 

1. Stay calm and assess the situation

Meditation is a little far-fetched, but some calmness is nice to have. Photo by Katerina May on Unsplash.

It is true that missing a flight might seem like the end of the world. But it is not. Stay calm, and try to assess the situation.

Everything would become harder to deal with both for you and any other people who are involved. Especially don’t get mad at the airport staff. You don’t want the situation to escalate and turn away the people who can lend a hand.

We have a trick for you to instantly reduce your stress level. First, take a deep breath. But wait, don’t breathe it out yet. Try to inhale one more time. And then a long exhale. Then just like your missed flight, the stress will be gone.

2. Rebook or reschedule

Did you know about the flat-tire rule? Sometimes known as the flat-tire policy, it is an unofficial term used by some airlines. This allows travellers who miss their flights due to circumstances beyond their control to rebook their next flight free of charge.

While not a universally recognised policy, certain airlines have implemented variations of this rule to assist passengers in such situations.

Most airlines have regulations in place to deal with missing flights, and the sooner you contact them, the more likely it is that you can find a solution that works for you.

Thus, you should contact the airline or a travel agent as soon as possible to inform them of your situation. They may help you arrange for a replacement flight (either free or with a fee).

More importantly, if you don’t contact the airline, you are likely to be treated as a “No Show” (what happens if you miss your flight). It means any connection or return flights you have might be cancelled.

Contact the airline immediately! Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Then, the second thing you should do is check with your travel insurance company to see whether your situation is covered. You would want anything helpful, little as it might be, at this point.

Make sure to inquire about your alternatives for rebooking or rearranging your travel plans when you call. Some airlines may let you change flights for free or at a discounted cost, whereas others may charge you the entire fare for a new ticket.

Down here is some information regarding this: 


Before departure time: If your plans change, make sure to inform the airline as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, customers who do not show up for a flight without altering or cancelling their reservation before departure will forfeit the value of their ticket. All other flights in the itinerary correspondingly are cancelled.

If you have any questions or problems regarding this, try to contact them:

  • At the Airport: please see a Delta representative
  • Call Delta Reservations: 800-221-1212

British Airways

British Airways does not provide refunds for cancelled flights. However, they will book you on the next available flight as soon as possible if you miss your connection (if all your connecting flights are with them).

Come to the airline service desk. They can help you. Delta News Hub, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Southwest Airlines

As stated on their website, customers who arrive late within 2 hours after the departure time will be put on a waitlist for the next flight. You can to refer to their discussion forum for additional information.


Unfortunately, there is not much information on their official website regarding missing flights. It is always wise to contact them if you have any inquiries. However, here is some information you can use.

  • If a passenger misses their flight due to circumstances beyond their control, Emirates does not usually give refunds.
  • If a passenger doesn’t contact Emirates about his/her situation, he/she will be treated as a “No Show”.
  • To reschedule to the next available flight, a passenger might have to pay $100 to $500, depending on the situation.


If you miss a Lufthansa flight, they will assist you in booking the next available one. However, there may be a fee of £100. If you contact them soon enough, we are sure they can help you out.

3. Be aware of the fee

If you're flying with a low-cost carrier, bear in mind that their restrictions may be less flexible. You may even be charged for a cancellation fee when you don’t show up for your flights. Sometimes, it may be more cost-effective to simply purchase a new ticket than pay the fee or penalty.

Soon you may be on your way again, but at what cost? Photo by Day Of Victory Stu - stock.adobe.com

That is why it is always a good idea to try to negotiate a waiver or decrease the change cost when chatting with the airline or travel agent. Although this is not always possible, it is worth asking and explaining your position.

For instance, if you missed your trip due to a medical emergency or natural disaster, the airline may be more open to working with you.

Tips: If you have travelled with a certain airline for a long time, you probably have some mile points. Try to optimise it to save some cash (consider registering for a program if you haven’t had any).

4. What About My Luggage?

You may have missed the flight, but your bags do not. Usually, it will continue on the intended flight and be delivered to the final destination according to the original itinerary.

In this case, inform the airline or ground staff about your checked luggage to find appropriate solutions.

Depending on the circumstances and the airline's policy, you may be required to pick up the luggage at the destination airport. Another scenario is to have it forwarded to a new travel arrangement if rebooking is available.

Postpone the travel

If you are not in a hurry and have some time to spare, here are some ideas:

Find accommodations

If you miss a flight, you may need to arrange to lodge if you need to stay overnight before your next departure. Again, come to the airline or the travel agent to see whether they can help you.

Even if they can’t provide any actual help, it is still a good idea to hear their opinions. Thor's experience in dealing with situations like this is invaluable.

If the airline does not provide assistance, you will be on your own to secure a place. Looking for hotels or other lodgings near the airport is a good place to start.

Local accommodation can be a lovely place. Photo by Filiz Elaerts on Unsplash

Generally speaking, there will be a good number of hotels within walking distance of the airport. Some airports, such as Heathrow Airport and Birmingham Airport, even have hotels within the airport terminals. While not being affordable options, they do provide convenience.

For hotels in the surrounding area, you can compare costs and find last-minute offers or discounts by using travel booking platforms.

In parallel with finding accommodation for the night, make sure you inform the hotel waiting for you at the destination. When contacting them, remember to inform them of your situation and explain that you are a No-Show only because you missed the flight. Hopefully, that would be enough for you to avoid any penalties or unwanted fees.

If you are waiting for the next flight that is only a few hours away, consider locating a quiet location or a comfy seat at the terminals. You might be surprised to see the number of areas where you may rest or even take a nap.

Remember to check the airport's regulations on sleeping in public places since some areas are provided for free, but some are with fees (such as lounges). Then, when it's time to board your next flight, you'll feel energised again. Just don’t oversleep this time.

Take care of yourself

One mistake we have seen many people make is to think the situation is just temporary. Then they kind of neglect taking care of themselves.

However, we think it is something you should prioritise. This involves taking some rest, eating some food, and staying hydrated.

Even if you are a picky eater, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. From sit-down restaurants to grab-and-go ones, they will find something you like.

It is also critical to avoid overspending or being overly anxious during the waiting. Stay calm and patient. Spending money is not a recommended method to suppress stress.

Immersing in a book will travel you through waiting time. IG: @kierlouisseepascual

Take advantage of any airport services, including lounges, free Wi-Fi, or entertainment alternatives such as books or movies. If you have a long layover, you can also utilise the opportunity to catch up on work or even take a walk around the airport. Surprisingly, there are plenty of things you can do.

Consider alternative transportation

When push comes to shore, you may want to consider other forms of transportation as a last resort. However, keep in mind that certain factors, such as traffic or weather conditions, will affect the travelling time.

If you are thinking about renting a car, make sure to look into their renting policies for crossing state or international borders. Also, be aware of the rental car company's fuel and mileage policies and insurance alternatives.

On the other hand, if the bus or train is the option, make sure to look into the routes and times. It would be devastating if you missed this one as well.

Remember that certain modes of transportation may be limited in availability or may not take you straight to your destination. Therefore, figure out your transportation plan from the airport to your destination first. It's also a good idea to put unexpected delays or cancellations into consideration, especially if you're travelling during busy travel periods or in bad weather.

If you are in a hurry and want to make sure there is no further problem. Ride-sharing services or taxis are viable options. However, convenience will come with more expensive costs.

Inform your loved ones or travel companions

Now that you have been clear with the plan ahead, make sure to let other people know, especially those who expect you to arrive at a certain time.

Communicate clearly and offer any pertinent information, such as your new flight information, estimated arrival time, or any itinerary changes.

A simple call goes a long way in this situation. Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

If there is a group chat or something similar, try to use it to let everybody know.

This is also a wonderful time to go over contingency plans and emergency contacts so that everyone knows what to do in unforeseen events. By doing this, you not only reduce their stress level but also yours.


Since it is no doubt a frustrating experience, it’s important to learn from it. Plus, it feels like there are some good things about the accident. Here are some things you can do:

What was the reason(s)?

Take some time to reflect on what caused your missing flight. Did you overestimate the time required to go to the airport? Have you forgotten your passport or other essential travel documents? Were there any unexpected traffic or transportation delays? 

It is always easier to point the fingers outward, but identifying the real cause(s) will allow you to take preventative measures in the future.

Be aware of travel insurance policies and flexible flights 

If travel insurance is something you are not familiar with, consider taking a look at it. Unexpected incidents such as flight cancellations missed connections, or medical emergencies can be covered by travel insurance.

Another alternative is to purchase more flexible tickets. This can include purchasing tickets with fewer restrictions on modifications or cancellations. Refundable tickets might also be great options. While these tickets are more expensive in the beginning, they might come in handy in unfortunate situations.

It is critical to assess the costs of more flexible tickets or travel insurance against the potential benefits and your particular travel demands and habits. If you see a pattern of missing flights, this type of ticket might be what you need.

Arrive extra earlier next time

It’s not a nice view watching your plane from afar. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Arriving early at the airport allows you to accomplish all necessary tasks prior to your flight, such as checking in, dropping off your bags, and going through security.

The process can sometimes be unexpectedly long and troublesome. By arriving early, not only are you not rushed, but you should be in a comfortable mindset.

This is especially useful during busy travel months or when flying to international destinations. Security and customs queues can be time-consuming and stricter in certain countries. If you have another flight waiting after the current one, make sure to spare yourself some time to change terminals or airlines.

Consider choosing reliable transportation, such as a trusted taxi service or a ridesharing app. Depending on your location, buses and trains might not be as effective.

Navigate Through Being Late To A Flight: Nothing’s Impossible

It is no wonder this is every traveller’s worst nightmare; it can be much better if you know what to do if you miss a flight. You can find your way around this situation.

Here is a quick recap. For people missing their flights, first, check the insurer's policies, then the airline’s. After that, try to rebook another flight or try other transportation. 

If your time is more flexible, remember to get some rest, either at the airport or at a hotel. Take care of yourself to ensure that you are in great condition for the next flight.

One crucial thing is to always inform other people of your situation, including your families, friends, and hotels in the destination. 

If you are calm and follow these steps, we believe missing the flight will not be as bad as you think. That being said, we hope that you would never find yourself in such situations. Travel is to be enjoyed, no matter the difficulties!

Bui Hoang Hai

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