Missing your connection is incredibly frustrating. On my recent trip to LA I missed my connection on both legs of the trip, in and outbound. I planned tight layovers which I was unable to make because of immigration queues. So, what do you do when your plane is already in the air when you arrive at the gate?
Many people panic when their plane is not there when they arrive. I’ve seen people crying because of it. At this point, there’s nothing you can do to get on that plane anymore, it’s gone. Forever. Take a deep breath, and calm down. Accept that you missed the flight.
Find your airline’s help desk
The most important thing you should do when you miss your connection is getting to the help desk. Chances are, more people missed your flight, and all of those people need to be rebooked on a new flight. Seats are limited, so seats on the next flight are mostly distributed on a first come, first serve basis.
When you arrive to the help desk, it is important that you are friendly with the people that help you. Not only because it is common human decency to be friendly, but also because they have nothing to do with you missing the plane. On top of that, friendliness goes a long way. I managed to get upgraded to Premium Economy on my way back to Europe without even asking.
Just tell the assistant that you missed your connection, and they will do the rest. It’s really easy. You’ll have a new boarding pass in no time.
Accept you might not get a direct flight home
Some destinations only get only one flight a day. Especially in the case intercontinental flights. When I missed my connection in San Francisco, the next flight back to Amsterdam would leave 23 hours later. The next best bet would be to fly to Frankfurt, and fly to Amsterdam from there. This meant adding another layover to the already long trip. Instead of being home in 16 hours, it took me 26.
Looking at the bright side of this, I already had a long day before even getting on the plane to Frankfurt. I was tired before dinner and got 7 hours of sleep where I normally have trouble sleeping at all. I woke up in Frankfurt, refreshed and ready to take on the day.
There’s not much more to this. Wait for your new flight to board, get on the plane, and just chill until you get home. When you do get home, you’ll have a cool story to share at the bar. About how you spent 8 hours in an airport, or about how you spent 26 hours traveling a journey that normally takes 11 hours on a direct flight. Talk about adventures!
While we hope you never ever have to go trough missing a connection, it is really not as bad as it sounds. For me, it was a rather funny experience.
Even if you miss your connection, happy travels!