Airport delays are an unfortunate fact of life for passengers. While this may simply cause late arrival in some cases, it can always mean that you miss a connecting flight. The good news is that you have rights as a passenger when you miss a connecting flight and it is the airline’s fault.

Missed Connecting Flights

In January 2020, nearly 15 percent of airline flights nationwide were late. Roughly one percent of flights in the U.S. were canceled. Flight delays are a growing problem when airports are already stretched. Even two problems at one airport can throw the entire region’s air system into chaos.

As a traveler, many times you only have an hour or less between connecting flights. This means that you have to land, exit the plane and then board your second flight. Oftentimes, connecting flight schedules factor in the best-case scenario of on-time arrival. Even a slight delay can mean you miss your next flight.

Your Flights When You Miss a Connecting Flight

When you have missed a connecting flight because the airline has encountered a flight delay, they have certain obligations that they owe to you as the passenger. The first is to make sure that they book you on the next available flight to get you to your destination. If you are stuck overnight because you are waiting for the next flight, the airline should put you up at a hotel at their expense.

Whether you are entitled to travel compensation or not depends on where your flight is. Flights in the U.S. that are delayed or canceled do not require compensation for the inconvenienced passengers. However, European rules are much stricter and go much further in protecting travelers from cancelled flights and missed connections. European regulations set the amount of potential compensation based on the distance of the flight that was cancelled or delayed. Compensation for missed connections is based on the total length of the journey as opposed to the cancelled or delayed segment.

Other Things that Can Go Wrong

In general, there are a number of things that can go wrong when you travel on an airline. Even if your flight is on-time, your baggage may not arrive at your destination when your plane does. Sometimes, the luggage will get misplaced and will arrive within a day or two. However, in some cases, the airline will simply lose your bags and they never arrive. In that event, the airline does owe you compensation based on what was in your baggage that was lost. For domestic U.S. flights, the cap on the amount of compensation is $3,500. For international flights, passengers may be paid up to $1,780 per bag.

International Travelling Tips

If you are traveling internationally, it is best to arrive early for your flights. Moreover, you should factor in that one flight could be late and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to make your connections. Study the layout of the airport ahead of time to get a sense of where you need to go to make your flight so you do not get lost in the airport.

When it comes to packing, make sure not to put critical items that you may need for your trip in your checked luggage if you can avoid it. Certainly, this means not to pack valuables. Instead, you should keep them in your carry-on luggage. If you do pack multiple bags, spread important packed items between your two bags in case one gets lost.

There are many things that are beyond your control when you fly internationally. Plan ahead to minimize what can go wrong on your flight.