There are many questions of the type "I have to change at airport X, is Y minutes/hours/days enough?" in this forum. I understand that the usual answer is "If you booked your flights on the same ticket, the airline is responsible in case you miss your second flight." This raises some questions in me. Assume I booked two flights on the same ticket.

1) Are airlines generally good in making flight plans such that one would rarely miss flights? More precisely, are there any statistics how often people miss connecting flights (per airline)?

2) What kind of traveller do airlines assume when they make flight plans? E. g. old people/people with handicaps would probably need more time than young, fit ones. Do airlines (try to) plan as much time as very disabled people would need?

3) What am I allowed to do in a stopover so that I am eligible for a compensation flight? What if I need to go to the bathroom and miss my flight because of that? Is the airline responsible? What if I go shopping/do not run/go to a prayer room/am an analphabet (and can thus not properly read signs) etc.? Are there regulations what I have to do/am allowed to do to be eligible for a compensation in case I miss my flight?

4) Is it "easy" to get a compensation for the second flight in case I miss it? For example, I would say it's rather hard to get compensation for cancelled flights - I have the feeling that many people are not told that they are eligible for compensation, that it is often quite hard to reach airlines and there are even companies fighting for your money! It is sometimes/often the case that people have to go before a court to get their compensation flight/the money for it?

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    I think that this is a fair question and I wonder if it's better splitted up. Especially point 4 is very dependent on the legal situation in the respective countries. – DCTLib Aug 6 '18 at 20:39
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    Please ask only one question at a time. – choster Aug 6 '18 at 23:11
  • @choster: I am very sorry. Do you think its better if I put all 4 questions into seperate posts or how should I act now? – user82522 Aug 7 '18 at 6:44
  • @user82522 Welcome, and sorry we had to close your first question, but Stack Exchange has firm guidelines about what kinds of questions we can answer. If you are new to the network, I strongly recommend taking the site tour and reviewing the help center. Your first and fourth questions seem to solicit opinions, which we cannot answer, and are impossible to generalize across all flights, airports, and airlines. In my opinion your 2 and 3 would be reasonable to ask as separate questions, however. – choster Aug 7 '18 at 15:28
  • @choster: I read all those links, but they weren't too helpful for me.. So how should I go from here? Should I delete the questions 2 and 3 here and then ask them new? Or should I leave them here? – user82522 Aug 7 '18 at 15:41

Generally, it is a loss for the airline if they have to rebook you - your original seat flies empty, and they have to use a seat on another machine that potentially still could have been sold. Therefore, they are interested to make connections work.
Most airlines have defined MCTs ('minimum connection times') for all major airports, and they will not sell you a ticket if it goes below that connection time (even if you are young and fit, and willing to run fast - they just don't). MCTs are not typically published to the traveling public because they are complex and have many exceptions.

Obviously, if the arriving plane is a bit late, this becomes a lot more difficult. The airlines typically will have personnel on standby that directs you to your connection, gives you a ride through the airport, or even leads you through non-public shortcut corridors.

Their calculation is based on the typical person that is able to walk, not run; and on someone that needs to find the gate, and doesn't know the airport from weekly usage. However, if you consider older or even handicapped people, there are for sure people that will not be able to make it. They should contact the airline before they land (best before they start or buy the ticket), and get recommendations or help. If you just take your time, and then miss the connection, you are probably out of luck, unless you find a nice agent, or have a convincing story.

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  • 1) Assuming high demand, why would the seat(s) go empty if the airline were optimally overbooked? and 2) if the demand on that leg were to be low, wouldn't there be a better chance the next flight will have seats available? The way I see it, unless the passenger has to be housed for the night, the impact for the airline is fairly minor. The airline doesn't have to procure your seat with retail prices. – Douglas Held Aug 7 '18 at 2:03
  • Thank you for your great answer! Do you know if there are any definitions what "take you time" means? Or this this always just negotiation with the airline? – user82522 Aug 7 '18 at 15:47
  • sorry, nothing with a source to cite. From the MCTs I know, if your plane is on time, getting last out of the plane, and walking normal adult speed gets you still there 10 minutes early. So you probably have ten minutes to get a bit lost in the terminal or go to the restroom. – Aganju Aug 7 '18 at 16:14

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