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Ever Missed a Flight or had a flight Delayed? Here is What to do! #Airtravel

Air Travel – What happens if you Miss a Scheduled flight or have a Flight Delay?

Ever Missed a Flight or had a Flight Delayed Before? Here is What to do!

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You might not know that Airlines sometimes run short of aircraft once in a while, until you are stuck in an airport for hours! It would be ten times worse, if you are stuck with little ones, or elderly travel partners like parents who may also not be very well.

The delay of a flight is not something anyone would like to go through. Yet, today we are gonna look at this exact topic, following a conversation we had with a friend. This girl lets call her Vero, called in tears that she had missed her flight. At first, we thought she was late to the airport, until she explained that it was not just her. It was the whole plane load of passengers heading to Bali!

“It can happen to anyone. The announcement over the tannoy system: Flight number BL2345 has been delayed, Check your Desk for further updates…”

Or something like that…!

Sometimes the delay may be beyond human reach. For example, the recent volcanic explosion in Bali…Flights were cancelled and a friend in the industry bagged herself a week off!

Other climatic elements that can cause an airline to cancel flights include:  

  • unfavourable weather conditions,
  • craft mechanical problems,
  • Natural disasters,
  • delays in incoming flights schedules.

The more Human caused reasons for a flight cancellation or delay could be:

  • discount allocation,
  • overbooking,
  • Poor traffic management etc.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Climatic elements that can cause an airline to cancel flights! #AirTravel” quote=”Climatic elements that can cause an airline to cancel flights”]

Due to travelling on a wide scale, we have come to learn that flight controllers have to respond and sometimes react to such challenges in real time by either postponing or scratching flights, swapping crafts of scheduled flights, or call in the utilization of surplus airplanes.

They do this to minimize the fall out esp. compensation claims, having to pay for extras passengers may have to accrue due to the delay or cancellation etc.

In today’s post, we share our experiences and research on Flight delays and cancellations for the passenger! What can you do in such a situation?

As a passenger you have to understand that airlines do incur significant costs as a result of any delay or cancellations in operational costs. Yet to be honest, when you are going through the experience you only think of your problems like…

  • Missed connections, (In Europe this can cost you a pretty penny)
  • Missed business meeting and deals for the business traveller)
  • Children missing school and having to explain why (Could be charged with truancy in UK)
  • Maybe you have run out of holiday funds and cannot afford the basics while you wait!

Here is the thing, focusing on the problem only makes it worse, so we have learnt to focus on what can we do right now, to make this time less stressful and even fun?




[clickToTweet tweet=”Focusing on the problem only makes it worse, so focus on what you can do #missedflight” quote=”Focusing on the problem only makes it worse, so focus on what you can do!”]

Our Top Missed Flight or Flight Delay Passenger Tips

#1. Find out what you are entitled to with the utmost politeness.

When we had that issue in Kigali with Brussels Airlines, my good banter and polite attitude with the Rwanda Airlines staff (Honey attitude) got us back to Entebbe in Business Class to boot!

Trust me we missed the flight not because of our fault, rather due to some serious corruption in the Brussels Airlines Kigali staff!

This meant we missed our flight to Brussels and Manchester. Yet we were put on the next flight from Entebbe direct to Europe. I know that if I had used the vinegar approach i.e. shout and rant, we may have had a real rough ride on our return leg from Uganda in April!

Ever Missed a Flight or had a flight Delayed? Here is What to do!


#2. Call the Airline Call Center

If you missed a flight due to the airline fault, do this! As opposed to joining the queue of disgruntled passengers probably throwing abuse at the put-upon desk staff!

Again, be polite, ask what can be done and whether they can get you out of the airport to a hotel if the delay is over 6 hours! Remember you are entitled to some compensation depending on the airline and how long the delay!


#3. If you remember our ultimate packing list when traveling with kids? Then you did pack some games, books, and things to while the time away in-flight? Well use those now!

Better still you travelled light and only have a carry-on bag, right? And you have your travel pillow! Then Settle down cushion ya head and take a nap! πŸ™‚ 



#4. Make Sure to Have Travel Insurance,

Irrespective of how many days you are meant to be away? Understand that you cannot plan for somethings my friend. so whether you missed a flight by accident or airline fault, having travel insurance can be your cushion and fall back plan for recompense! 

Our friend Kim was once stuck in Peru following a natural disaster. Kim was very well insured and was moved to a luxury hotel while the airline sorted out the delay! She was more than happy to stay the extra days relaxing as she works for herself. She’s a digital entrepreneur you see! And with WiFi and her laptop on board, she lived the laptop beach lifestyle for an extra 3 days! Sweet!


#5. If the missed flight was your fault:

In other words, you over slept, miscalculated the time it would take to get to the airport, or whatever the cause, outside of the airline remit…! You are up shit creek.

Definitely you are going to have to eat some humble pie. Pray the desk staff are having a great day and will take pity on you. But first….

Call the airline before you even get to the airport. Find out if you can be re-booked on the next flight and at what cost? If you are lucky and are polite enough that could be “Zero Cost.

If you have a connecting flight…OMG you better have bought the one ticket…Otherwise the domino effect continues.

You may have to folk out for the various legs of your “Missed flight.” Or be so lucky as to have the airlines re-book you on the next available flight at no extra cost.

Just understand that these gate agents have heard every excuse under the sun, as to why someone is late for their flight. So NO DRAMA!

Did you hear about our Turkish airlines switched flight times Debacle? Yup…You end up paying $200+ per passenger. Or worse still paying for a full new ticket. Some airlines genuinely don’t give a rat’s arse about any reason you give. Or the desk staff do not have any authority to override the computer system. And the manager just won’t help…


#6. If You Have to Pay for the delay or missed flight:

Inquire from the gate agent if the airline has a “missed departure fare.” Be ready to ask if someone in management can help with this if the agents seems ignorant of this! We definitely were able to get that from an EasyJet Flight! If the delay was beyond your circumstances BUT NOT an airline cause, ask about the airline usually unofficial “Flat Tire rule.”

What the heck is this Julie?

“It’s where if you the customer missed your flight due to circumstances beyond your control, you could be placed on the next available flight…”

This only works if you are way under 2 hours of missing your scheduled flight!

PRO TIP: Are you are booked on one “through ticket” — one ticket from origin to destination via a transit point — and you miss your connection? The airline is obliged to put you on the next available flight without penalty.

However, the airline is not obligated to put you aboard the next flight if the trips are booked separately.

On the off chance that you have a “through ticket” i.e. one ticket from your departure to destination including transit on a US Flight; and you miss your connection. You may be in luck! US Airlines usually follow through on the obligation to put you on the Next flight with no penalty. In Europe, not so much! You may have to make a few calls before they respond to their obligation! 

BUT, they are not obliged to do the above if you booked your flights separate!

So, now you are armed with the information and you wont be left hanging if you missed a flight or had a long unplanned delay! 

Now, we will be keeping you posted on more trending and practical ways to handle a missed flight situation as time goes. 

Well, how about you, do you know some tips if one missed a flight at no fault of their own? If so, feel free to share below,  Save/Pin this post, Share on Facebook and Leave a comment below.


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Dr Pauli Kalungi

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56 thoughts on “Air Travel – What happens if you Miss a Scheduled flight or have a Flight Delay?”

  1. These are helpful tips. I think we have all had missed or delayed flights. It is not fun, but we might as well make the best of it.

  2. Christie Hawkes

    I couldn’t agree more that the “honey approach” is so much better for everyone involved. You’re likely to achieve a better result and you will definitely feel better however things are resolved. I did not realize that you are better off calling the airline than getting in the queue, so I appreciate the advice. I hope I won’t have to put it into use anytime soon! I found your post on the Blogger’s Pit Stop.

    1. Hello Christie,

      What a pleasure to see someone from the Pit Stop. And We too hope you wont ever have to put this advice to work. Yet Fore armed is the juice! πŸ™‚

  3. We had this problem when we were flying out of Kathmandu! Was so frustrating because we missed our connection in Dehli too!

    1. Ohh dear, thats the exact scenario one would hate to face, when you have connections and missed or had the first leg delayed…It can be a bummer. Hope it was all sorted to your advantage Taylor!

  4. I learnt a few things from reading your post which I hadn’t understood before, like the reasons the airlines can delay flights sometimes. I think your advice is spot on in staying cool and looking at what you ca do instead of just the negatives. As someone else has commented too, staying cool is very important. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us at The Blogger’s Pit Stop. Debbie from Deb’s World (

    1. Hey Debbie,

      Good to see you here and Yes Coolio is the dealio when it comes to handling gate agents at airports for any thing including missed or delayed flights. Irrespective of who is at fault! πŸ™‚

  5. This is such great information. I have been lucky to never run into issues, and I’ve always made my flights. No delays ever. I hope that I don’t ever come across this problem. I need to knock on wood now!

  6. Thanks for the tips. I have been lucky so far but you never know when it will happen to you, right? I’ll keep these ideas in mind – just in case!

  7. These are really great tips and with all of the travel I’ve been doing, I’ll definitely keep these in mind!

  8. This is so very helpful. I’ve never flown, but my biggest fear is that something terrible like missing the flight would occur. I agree that keeping your head is always a great starting point.

  9. This is good to know. Last weekend, my boyfriend and I flew to Tulsa to visit his family and we nearly missed our first flight by about 5 minutes! It definitely made for a stressful morning.

  10. Lovely tips from you, This one already did happend to me and my hubby. the flight was cancelled and we didn’t know what to do. luckily we did our own ways and after ask from the airlines reimbursement for everything that they caused to us.

  11. I’ve only been on an airplane twice in my life and I made sure to get there super early to make sure I didn’t miss the flight.

  12. Thankfully I have never missed a flight. I do need to practice patience because I’m sure I will be all emotional if it does ever happen.

  13. You have offered some really fantastic advice in this post! As a pretty frequent traveler I can definitely appreciate it <3

  14. Missing a flight and not knowing what to do can be scary. This is such a great resource for newer flyers.

    1. Hey Cindy, keep on doing the right things a nd you will never miss a flight. And now you are kitted for is it ever happens and its not your fault too! πŸ™‚

  15. I thankfully never missed a flight while traveling, which is good because I use to travel with an infant. I couldn’t imagine where I would even being if I had missed a flight.

  16. This is all great advice. Our recent trip involved being stranded by a sudden shift in a hurricane. The airport was closed for two days – meaning we had to stay in a hotel and buy food for 2 days – expenses we hadn’t planned for. We broke out the credit card and as soon as roads were cleared, we rented a car. Thankfully, the airline refunded our tickets (they didn’t have to) and travel insurance covered the rest.

  17. Great tips – Thank you… I only missed a flight once and in my dreams. I woke up in soaking sweat lol. But yes, my flights were delayed before, thankfully not by long…

  18. I agree a travel insurance is so worth it in these situations. I would not travel without because there are always situations that tend to come up unexpectedly. Missing a flight and loosing your money would be a nightmare!

  19. Some great tips and advice, fortunately we have not had anything more than a 20 minute delay, and I totally agree being pleasant and polite certainly gets things achieved so much better than ranting and raving, I always feel so sorry for the staff that get the brunt of it, no way is it ever their fault.

  20. Fantastic tips! The best one is staying cool, calm and collected. I have seen agents get yelled at repeatedly, and by the time I get up to them they are just grateful I walk up to them smiling. Every time I have used that approach the agent went out of the way to help me! Great article!

    1. Thats the thing Patricia. You gotta approach them with a SMILE so they know you are different and Also tell them it must have been a hard day so far and you totally dont wish to add to that! Then ask your question, with a wide smile and be patient as they seek your solution, 100% better than anyone else who yelled at them! πŸ™‚

  21. It is really annoying if you have delayed flight. It is very inconvenient and stressful mostly if you are on a business trip and you have schedules to follow. That happens to me before and I know the feeling. Thank you for the advice I’ll take note of everything

    1. Yes Kelly, it can be truly annoying and the only solution is to not let the anger drive your actions and words. The idea is to get the best deal out of the whole situation for you and your travel party!

  22. Jessica Hughes

    This is great advice for me as I travel quite often, usually with my two littles. A long delay due to a missed flight is not fun with two small children! I always have travel insurance but the other advice is great as well.

  23. I am going to bookmark this! We travel a lot and this happens sometimes! Thank you for sharing this! I will use this!

  24. Thanks for the great advice, info and tips. It has been many years since I have flown and would plan to arrive a couple hours late. Better to sip on something in the Airport lounge than to wait through the time.

  25. The first tip is the best tip, remain cool at all costs. If you keep your cool, airlines are gonna be a lot nicer to you. Lots of people get crazy confrontational up front and then get really screwed (it’s happened to me).

    1. Hey Saint,

      In every situation , its always best to stay calm. Coz usually the people we rile at arent the powers that be, or the makers of arbitrary decisions!

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