If you arrive at the airport, after your departure time on a connection, or at the check in counter you will need to get rebooked on a new flight. Use these steps to ensure that you’ll get to your destination a.s.a.p.
- Make sure the flight is actually gone
If the departure time has already passed, it will not hurt to walk to the gate and make sure the flight has actually departed. Sometimes flights will encounter a delay and if the plane is still parked at the gate you may still be able to board. *
*Airlines across the board close their doors 10 minutes prior to departure time. Just because the plane is still at the gate does not mean you will be able to board. If a gate agent is present then ask if you can still board the flight. If they say no then don’t go nuts. Gate agents don’t like dealing with angry people, they are simply doing their job by sending the flight out. If you miss your flight, politely ask if the agent will assist you in rebooking. They understand that you are frustrated, but an emotional outburst will lessen the chances that they will assist you right then and there. If you are polite then the agent may rebook you and save you time standing in the dreaded Customer Service line.
Gate agents often go from gate to gate with little or no time between flights, they may not be able to help you at the gate, but if you’re nice they may be more inclined to assist.
- Find out when the next flight to your destination is leaving.
Using airline websites or mobile apps you can get a list of the departures heading to your destination. If there is a flight leaving soon then head straight to the gate of the next flight and ask the gate agent if there is availability on the flight. If there are seats open then there is a good chance that the agent will put you on the flight.
*In some cases there may be a delayed flight still awaiting departure. If the delay is significant it may have seats open. Make sure to check to see is all scheduled departures from earlier in the day have already left.
*Consider an alternate destination. If you can fly to an airport close to your original destination then you may have a few extra options. **If you have checked baggage the airline may not be able to transfer your bags for you.
- Auto Rebooking
Some airlines will rebook you automatically if you have misconnected. Check your email or mobile app when you arrive and see if the airline has provided new flight information for you. Auto rebooking could save you a trip to the customer service center. If you confirm that you have been rebooked then head to the gate for the new flight and check in with the gate agent to receive a boarding pass.
- Call the airline
If you have confirmed that your flight has departed without you, and you are not sure if you have been rebooked it is a good time to call the airline. Check out quantumtrips.com to get a list of airlines and their contact info. Getting rebooked over the phone will save you from standing in line at a customer service counter, and you will usually be able to get through to an agent quickly for rebooking.
- Go to the Service Center
I have left this as the last option, as it is usually the most time consuming. If you missed your flight then there is a good chance that many other passengers are also looking to get rebooked, especially on severe weather days where many flights are delayed or canceled.
Lines at an airline customer service counter can sometimes take several hours to get through. Each customer needs to be dealt with individually, and there is often no quick fix to each issue. If you are stuck in a hub of the airline that you are flying then there is a good chance that there is more than one customer service center. If one line looks really long then take a few minutes to find out if there is another place that you can go to get assisted. Line times may be shorter at another counter.
Another option is to go to the ticket counter in the front of the airport. If there are long lines at the gates, there is a chance that there is no line at the check in counter. The agents at the front of house should be able to do everything that can be done near the gates. Keep in mind that you will be exiting security to get out to the ticket counter.
- What do you need?
When you finally reach a representative, whether it be at a gate, via phone, at a customer service counter, or at the ticket counter it is important to be prepared. You will need to provide the representative with your airline confirmation number, let them know which flight you arrived on and where you are travelling. If an alternate destination is a possibility then let them know where else you may be willing to fly. If you have all of this information handy then the agent will be able to assist you quickly, and hopefully get you to your destination quickly.
Missing a flight is always a bummer. Following these steps will give you the best chance of getting on the first flight available and to your destination.