What to do if you Miss your Flight?


Did this ever happen to you, missing your flight? It happens. It happened to me. I missed a flight twice, and nearly missed four. Sometime the circumstances were completely on me and other times not.  This may sound like the dumbest thing to do. How can you be so clumsy to miss a flight you paid so much money for?  Well, in the travelling chaos, long wait time, security checks, and time zones, it happens. You may even be so close to make it that you missed a flight that is still docked at the gate. Once they officially close the aircraft's door, they don't reopen it.

What are some of the situations in which you could miss a flight?

Missed flight still docked at the gate

Missed flight still docked at the gate

  • If your connection is too short, you may miss your connecting flight. It's possible that your initial flight got delayed by a few minutes. Twenty minutes can change everything. You may also have to cross customs and pass security again during this connection. 
  • You may get mixed up with departure times, arrival times, and time zones. Sometime your connection can be in a time zone just one hour later than your departure point and you didn't quite realize the time changed. One hour can be a huge difference. 
  •  You can simply sleep through your alarm. Some flights or recommended airport arrival time can be ridiculously early. 
  • Customs may not want to let you through and you lose precious time in the question room.
  • On long layovers, you may fall asleep or get absorbed in a project and you miss the boarding time. 
  • If you're relaying on the airline's app to tell you when the boarding starts, you may encounter a bug or a glitch. The notifications are not consistent.
  • The boarding gate may change and you missed the announcement. 
  • Delayed flight may leave earlier than anticipated. 

What can you do to avoid this? 

  • Try to book flights with connections that are two-hour long or more. 
  • If it's crucial that you get to your destination at a certain time for a meeting, try to get there the day or night before. It'll give you some leeway should something happen.
  • Ahead of time, verify the time zones and time changes for every single point you are stopping at, not only your final destination.
  • Have several alarms and a hotel wake-up call if you're in a hotel. Go to bed on time. 
  • Go to your gate at the official boarding time, regardless of what the display, app, or website says. If you're in the lounge, you won't hear the customer paging messages and the display will most likely not say "Boarding".
  • When a flight is delayed, stay close-by and listen for announcements such as boarding, passenger paging, and gate change. Delayed flights frequently change gate. 
  • Set an alarm or reminder on your phone for the boarding time. 
  •  Go to the airport at the recommended time and even a bit before, especially when having to crossing customs and at rush hour time. Monday morning at 6am, you'll be mingled in a lot of business travellers.
  • Do your flight check-in the day before, either online or with the smartphone app. 
  • Only bring a carry-on. 
  • Avoid liquids in your carry-on over 100ml (3oz).
  • If you're really worried, stay at your gate and avoid playing games, watching movies, listen to music, or anything else involving headphones and your full attention.

What can you do when this happens?

  •  Don't panic. That's the worst thing to do. You're not out of options, and you don't have to buy a new ticket. 
  • Go to the airline's counter, calmly explain what happened, and give them your boarding pass. They'll rebook you on the next flight. You may be on stand-by and upcoming flights may be full. Stay calm and figure out the best options.
  • Not all agents are fully acquainted with all the fees. They may try to charge you fees for rerouting you. Most of the time, it's not the case. You're still going to the final destination. Before paying extra fees, try to check with another agent. I checked with the agent at the lounge after the agent at the gate wanted me to pay 200$ to connect through Toronto. It wasn't the case and I got the new ticket to Toronto for free. 
  • If your wait time between now and the new flight time is really long, buy yourself a lounge pass (if your fare allows it), take a shower, get a free meal, and a lot of comfort. 
  • Take it easy, communicate with whoever has to know your arrival time, and reschedule what has to be rescheduled. 

In Summary

It's best not to miss your flight, obviously, but you're not out of options and the situation will resolve itself.  Remain calm and don't be mean to the person who's trying to find you a seat on their next flight. Flights may be full during high season and it may take a little while for a seat to open. It's easier to accept the situation and find the best options quickly then furiously fighting with the agents.


Who Am I? I'm many things. I'm passionate about tons of stuff. I love travel. I love self-improvement. I'm a sucker for optimization, efficiency, and minimalism. I renewed with mathematics and science, those are so amazing. Astronomy and chemistry are just plain awesome! I'm a student, a mentor, a traveler, a learner, an artist, an animator, and Disney brings me tears of joy! I love to grow and I will never stop! So who am I? All that and everything else I have not discovered about myself yet. It's a never ending answer!

Qui suis je? Je suis beaucoup de choses. Je suis passionné des tonnes de trucs. J'adore voyager. J'adore la croissance personnelle. Je suis vendue à l'optimisation, l'efficacité et le minimalisme. J'ai renoué avec les mathématiques et les sciences, des mondes tout simplement incroyable. L'astronomie et la chimie sont tout simplement génial! Je suis étudiante, mentor, voyageuse, artiste, animatrice et Disney m'apporte des larmes de joie! J'aime me pousser à fond et je ne cesserai jamais! Alors, qui suis-je? Tout cela et tout le reste que je n'ai pas encore découvert de moi-même. C'est une réponse sans fin!