How NOT To Miss Your Connecting Flight During a Layover
Missing a connecting flight is one of the worst-case scenarios for many travelers. Even frequent flyers worry over this being the most stressful and frustrating nuisance of air travel. The most defeating part of such a loss is missing out on the purpose of your journey, whether it was a planned vacation, a return home, a wedding trip, medical tourism, or a crucial business meeting.
Your mind might wonder how such circumstances came about, especially in situations where you might find yourself or see someone speeding through the airport with the hand luggage hauling behind, trying to reach the gate for an impending flight. Although almost missing a trip is not the same as actually missing one, the causes might be similar. However, it makes us wonder about what to do if we miss flights or how to avoid the situation entirely, leading to reflective questions like why do some travelers miss their flights? Do such events make you think about what some unfortunate ones do wrong or what happens if I do not make it on a connecting flight?
Reasons You Might Miss a Connecting Flight at the Airport
• Missed Connecting Flight Due to Airline
For instance, there might be a delayed initial flight due to mechanical problems, security concerns, or other delays such as late takeoffs at busy airports. In these cases, the airline should rebook your missed flight. If the next outbound plane is a long time away, the airline may be obliged to book another airline or provide hotel accommodations and meals for inconveniencing you. However, these airlines are not obligated to make these arrangements. Interestingly, high-class airlines such as Emirates offer these consolations while budget airlines will leave you stranded.
• Missed Connecting Flight Due to Weather
This type of incident is similar to the one above, but in this case, unkind weather compensation from airlines is unlikely. Some airlines even write off weather incidents as an act of God. Still, travel insurance could be of significant help in these cases as it will often pay for expenses that won’t be cover by the airline.
• Personal reasons
Frankly, some people miss out on flights because of their own doing. They sometimes oversleep in a lounge or rest zone. Sometimes they lose track of time at the airport while enjoying its services such as shops and bookstore. Airports are becoming even more distracting. For example, Munich Airport has 150 retail stores and some 50 places to eat and drink, and Singapore Changi Airport features an even more entertainment deck, garden, and even theater. Also, some passengers might have health concerns such as tummy aches or anxiety flying.
Reasons you might miss a connecting flight outside the airport.
It has become standard for many airlines to tell passengers to reach the airport an hour and a half before their flights, giving them ample time to beat time eaters such as traffic, immigration, and security checkpoints. If you have the right documentation and enough transit time, you can venture into the city between connecting flights. However, it will be your responsibility to return on time. So it is essential to plan very well to avoid mishaps.
How to mitigate contingencies, so you do not miss your flight.
The aviation industry functions according to minimum connecting times (MCT). These allow the transfer of travelers and their luggage onto their connecting flights at allotted times. If you book tickets from separate airlines, without knowing their MCT schedule, the time between connections might be too short. That gives you no time to visit the restroom, get a bottle of water, or visits shops. All you can do is rush to the gate of the next flight.
How to Reduce the Chances of Missing a Flight
• Intentionally book more extended layovers
It is very convenient to leave lots of time between flights even if you don’t leave the airport. It gives you ample time needed to freshen up, grab a snack, use the restroom, pass through security or customs if necessary, change terminals, or even switch airplanes if necessary. You also have more time to find your next gate if the flights are in the same airport. This fact is an essential point for the elderly or for parents with infants who would not comply with being rushed. The recommended duration for a layover is more than an hour-long if you will be staying in the airport for the connecting flight.
• Gather information on the airport
It is vital to research the airport. That way, you save yourself time and effort preparing yourself before experiencing it firsthand. You will know what kind of signage they use to map out navigation in the airport, what kind of stores, and if services like a resting zone are available. You can also find out how huge the airport is when considering the distance between gates and your fitness levels.
• Be cautious of all the flight details
Importantly, you should be cautious and know about the airlines, and flight details ahead of your trip. Especially true when you book your flights on sites like Expedia or Kayak. It is admittedly tempting is to book multiple legs of a journey on numerous airlines because it’s cheaper; however, you lose the protection you get from one airline. For example, if you book one leg of your trip on KLM and the second ticket on Emirates, Emirates will not take on the responsibility if KLM’s flight delays to the connecting airport on time while it would for a plane in its fleet. Always try to book connecting flights through the same airline contrarily, if you miss the subsequent flight, it could be costly.
• Steps to be attentive if you’re exploring the city
If you are exploring the city, make sure you researched transport methods beforehand so you know an Uber or airport shuttle can get you back to the airport on time. You can also set alarms or reminders on your phone to make sure you check information apps on your phone about the approaching flight. A well planned out itinerary will ensure you do not get sidetracked.
In conclusion, keep in mind that missing one part of the flights on your route can lead to losing the ones that follow in a domino effect. Missing your next trip in a row could mean being stranded in an unfamiliar airport or even in a foreign country. In addition to missing out on the reason for your travel, rebooking would be affected by the availability of flights, and that might not be very likely for destinations where airplane tickets are rare or usually overbooked. Even if it takes more time, effort, or even a bit more money, it’s worth it if it gets you to your destination on time and helps you to avoid missing connecting flights.