Passengers often ask us how to claim missed connection flight compensation. It is probably the air passenger topic that requires the most experience and understanding of current regulations.
Before delving into the matter, it is important to point out that there are differnet ways in which you could avoid missing your flight. However, sometimes it is simply down to a misfortunate delay during security checks or a significant delay in your inbound flight.
In some of these cases, there’s really very little you could have done. In others, however, as per EU Regulation 261/2004, you could be eligible to claim missed connection compensation and receive up to €600 as a refund for your troubles.
We have prepared this exhaustive guide to help you navigate through the trouble of receiving compensation for your missed connecting flight and to give you the most pertinent advice on the steps you could take to prevent missing your flights.
Right to compensation for a missed flight connection
Most passengers won’t think that the reasons why they missed their flights matter much: in either case they will probably stay between the airport lounges for a prolonged period of time with the intermittent discussion with an airline agent to help them somehow reach their final destination.
However, missing your connecting flight because of a flight cancellation or delay can make a world of difference. If it’s the airline’s fault, you could be entitled to compensation of up to €600, an alternate flight and a refund for your food and drinks for the duration of your wait.
In case you missed your connection due to inclement weather, then your carrier is also obliged to help you find an alternate flight as soon as possible. In this case, since the airline is not responsible for the disruption, the carrier would not be required to pay compensation for the missed connection.
Unfortunately, if something under your control caused you to miss your flight, unless the airline representatives are especially nice, you’d would more or less be on your own. The airline would not be required to find you a replacement flight and you would not be eligible for missed connection flight compensation.
Even in this case, there are steps you can take to improve your situation. We’ll let you in on a few secrets below.
Advice on How to Make It to Your Flight
Even though missing a flight connection can happen for any number of reasons and there is no bulletproof insurance against all of them, there are a few steps you could take in order to limit the probability that the disruption of a missed connection might happen to you.
"To avoid missing your connection, leave yourself at least an hour and a half before the flight"
Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands
First, we would advise that you leave yourself plenty of time between flights. This is doubly useful if you happen to be connecting at airports infamous for their busyness (London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris Charles De Gaulle) or immensely big ones (which are more or less the same).
Larger airports often involve longer queues at customs and at security and passport control, longer travel time at the departure terminal, waiting for trains to get from one terminal to another and more. This is why we would advise that you leave yourself at least an hour and a half (ideally about an hour for domestic flights and two hours for international ones) between the time of arrival of your inbound flight and the departure of your outbound flight in order to avoid missing your connection.
We would go even further and advise you to give yourself even more time between flights when bad weather conditions are expected. Plan meticulously when frost, snow or thunderstorms (so especially during winter or if you are flying somewhere during rainy/storm season) are expected, as they could delay the departure of your inbound flight which might cause you to miss your connection.
If you are lucky and all variables work in your favor, you would have more than enough time to relax with a book and a cup of coffee or walk around the terminal and explore its shopping options.
"Always try to remain informed about how much layover time you have."
Unfortunately, airlines don’t always allow this much time between your inbound and your outbound flights and at the same time, you absolutely want to travel with the same airline when your itinerary involves connecting flights (more on that later). So, always try to remain informed about how much layover time you have between your flights and stay on top of whether anyone of them is being delayed.
If you only have about 35-50 minutes between your flights, then we would strongly advise that you head straight to your departure gate and to always pay attention to the information displays for any news about your outbound flight. Missing your connection can be a lot more troublesome and stressful than missing out on some shopping.
Try to reserve your tickets with the same airline
According to EU law, it’s also important to remember to book your flights with the same airline, if possible, and to have your flights on the same booking. This way if you miss your connection for some reason it would be significantly easier for you to deal with only one airline.
Have your reservations on the same booking
More importantly, if your reservations are on the same booking, and you miss your flight due to a delay or cancellation of your inbound flight, then you might be able to claim compensation of up to €600.
Having your flights booked on the same reservation is essential for this; otherwise, the airline’s responsibility towards you would end once they take you to your in-between destination. As far as they are concerned this is your final destination.
Having your flights booked on the same reservation means that your connecting flight is part of the same booking. For example, if you would like to fly from Athens, Greece to New York City through Frankfurt, we would recommend that you purchase a single booking with the following itinerary: Athens- Frankfurt-New York City rather than separate tickets to and from Frankfurt.
If for any reason it’s not possible to fly with the same airline, we would recommend finding flights which are operated by carriers within the same alliance. Alliances often have their dedicated desks at airports and would be equipped to help you find alternate flights within the airlines that comprise the alliance.
Unfortunately, buying all of your tickets as part of the same booking might not always be the cheapest possible option. However, it can serve as insurance in case you miss your connection and it’s the airline’s fault.
"You may have the right to compensation of up to €600 for any flight delays or cancellations which prevent you from boarding your connection."
Did you miss your flight because of your airline?
Have you missed a flight connection as a result of a flight delay, cancellation or denied boarding on your inbound flight? While we know that this may have caused you a lot of inconvenience, you could still make the most of it.
According to your passenger rights as defined by European Regulation 261, you may have the right to compensation of up to €600 for any flight delays or cancellations which prevent you from boarding your connection.
Missed Flight Compensation Criteria
There are a few preconditions that need to be met to be eligible for compensation for your missed connection.
- The delay or cancellation of your flight must have resulted in your arrival at your final destination at least 3 hours after the original arrival time.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you make a note of your actual arrival time at your final destination.
- In the case of a cancellation, you were informed about the cancellation less than 14 days prior to your flight.
- Your flights were booked under the same booking reference.
- The airline is responsible for the delay or cancellation.
In other words, they were not due to bad weather conditions, airport strikes or other extraordinary circumstances. Technical issues, however, are not considered extraordinary circumstances as they are within the airline’s responsibility to prevent. In this case, you may still be eligible for compensation.
- You flew with an EU airline or the flight departs from an EU airport.
Even though the flight delay of your inbound flight could be quite small, it could still prevent you from catching your connecting flight. As a result, you might reach your final destination with a delay of over three hours which would mean that you could be entitled to compensation of up to €600.
Read more about how to claim cancelled flight compensation.
How much compensation can I claim?
If the flight distance was less than 1,500 km, you could claim 250 euros. If the flight is between 1,500 and 3,500 km, you could claim 400 euros. And if the total trip distance was over 3,500 km, you could be eligible for up to 600 euros.
Moreover, if you miss your connection, your compensation will be calculated, based on the total length of your journey, not only for the disrupted leg.
What if my connecting flight is delayed: SkyRefund will help you claim compensation
At SkyRefund we help air passengers receive their rightful flight delay or cancellation compensation. Find out more about your passenger rights in case of a flight delay or simply check if you are eligible for delay compensation using our compensation calculator.
Airlines are businesses of course, and as such, they would always prefer to avoid compensation payment and therefore additional costs. This is why they often make the claiming process convoluted and bureaucratic. Sometimes, they would simply refuse or ignore your claim for missed connection compensation, without providing any further explanation.
If you have the right to compensation, however, our experienced aviation law experts can help you receive your payment. Once you have submitted your flight information, we will take every legal measure to ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours—even take the airline to court if necessary.
In addition, our experience allows us to make the process of claiming your compensation as stress-free as possible, as corroborated by our users’ reviews on our Facebook page.
This is why we insist on our “No Win—No Fee” policy. The whole process would be completely risk-free for you: we would only earn our fee once the airline has sent you your compensation.
If you missed your connection due to a delay or cancellation of your previous flight, you have the right to food and drinks for the period of your wait for an alternative flight.
What happens if you miss a flight: Right to Care
If your inbound flight was delayed or cancelled and caused you to miss your flight, then the airline is required to provide you with vouchers for food and drinks for the entire duration between the time of the arrival of your inbound and the departure of your outbound flights. According to European Regulation 261, your carrier is responsible for providing you with:
- Food and refreshments
- Hotel accommodation in case missing your flight caused you to stay at your transitional destination overnight.
- Transportation to the hotel accommodation mentioned above.
- An alternate flight or reimbursement for the cost of your journey.
What happens if the airline is not responsible for my missed flight?
Airlines can often frustrate us but the fault doesn’t always lie with them. Sometimes we may miss our connection because the airport was too big for us to reach our departure gate on time or because we simply weren’t careful with our time management.
Unfortunately, in this case, the airline is not required to assist you in finding an alternate flight.
Our first and most important piece of advice would be to contact the airline as soon as possible. In this situation in which the airline is not responsible for your missed connection, unfortunately, you are on your own. This means that any additional expenses at the airport or accommodation until your next flight have to be paid by you.
This is why it is very important that you make it to the airline’s desk as soon as possible and attempt to find the earliest possible flight.
Be very polite with the airline personnel but also persistent. You can save yourself a lot of time and money if you manage to win the airline representative on your side. It is best to call their local number before you arrive so that they are aware of your problem when you reach the airline’s desk. You should be able to find their local number on the airport’s website.
Ask about your baggage
In addition, if you are expecting a prolonged delay before your alternate flight, make sure you ask your airline representative about the necessary steps to retrieve your baggage. You might need it in case you have to spend the night at a hotel!
That being said, if you are sleeping at a hotel at your final destination, give them a call and inform them that you will not be able to make it and try to avoid any extra charges or even to get a last-minute cancellation.
Our most important advice would be to remain calm. No one wants a missed connection but it can happen to everybody. The calmer you are, the better you’ll spend your time at the airport. You should have enough time for a pleasant meal and some shopping.
Missing your connecting flight could bring you a lot of trouble but we hope that with these simple tips you would never have to experience one again. Of course, missing a connection is sometimes unavoidable, but in some of these instances, you would be eligible for missed connection compensation.
And remember... you can get flight compensation for your missed connection in just a few clicks!
Looking for more air travel advice? Check out our blog posts on lost luggage and the right to food and drinks in case of a flight delay or cancellation!
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