Booking a flight does not guarantee you a seat on that plane when it takes off for its scheduled destination. Some flights are missed due to airline errors, such as overbooking. But the most common reason why people miss their flights is due to passenger lateness. While it is a challenge to prevent getting bumped from a flight due to airline errors, you can avoid missing your flight due to personal lateness.
If you miss your flight for whatever reason, do not leave the airport until the matter is resolved. It is much easier to fix the problem while you’re still in the airport, than to have the burden of trying to reach the airline’s Customer Service Center from home. As challenging as it may be, try to remain calm because you’ll have to speak to an airline representative who may or may not be sympathetic to your plight. Regardless, do not leave the airport until after your flight is rebooked.
The first thing you want to do when you’ve missed your flight, is to locate the Customer Service Center for the airline that carries the flight that you missed. Present your boarding pass and let the representative know that you missed your flight and need to be rebooked. Yes, the representative may ask you a couple of questions as to why you missed your flight and whether or not you purchased travel insurance for this particular trip. Most major airlines will do their best to accommodate you on the next flight leaving out to your intended destination, with available seating. You may be reissued a new boarding pass, without an extra fee, and get to fly as a standby. Yes, that is the best case scenario.
However, there are airlines that have no -show fees and flight change fees, and also require you to pay the difference in cost between your original flight and your new flight. Flight change fees can be anywhere between $200 and $250; while no -show fees are usually a little higher at $300; plus there’s no way to know in advance how much higher a flight cost will be from the time you book your flight to the actual day of departure. Thus, it can be cheaper to purchase a new one-way flight, than to succumb to all of the fees required to change a preexisting flight. If you are a savvy traveler and you invested in travel insurance, you will want to contact the insurance carrier immediately to see how much, if any amount, of the penalty fees may be reimbursed.
For more travel information and to learn how you may enjoy the travel perks of the industry, enroll in the Chamber Coalition’s Certified Travel Agent and Destination Specialist Program at www.nacc.nyc/travelagent
Victoria Falk is the award-winning CEO of Passionate Travel, Inc.