I have missed my connecting flight from Frankfurt to New York. The time gap between incoming flight and connecting flight was about 2 hours. The incoming flight was delayed for about 90 minutes. Both flights were operated by same airlines but both tickets were separate (no single ticket). Now who is responsible for the missed flight?
Now who is responsible for the missed flight?
Unfortunately, you are.
When flights are bought as separate tickets, the airlines responsibility does not flow from one to the other - their obligation to you ends when you reach your destination on the ticket, and in this case you had two tickets with two destinations. That basically defines every thing here.
The second aircraft left on time and you were not denied boarding, so within the eyes of the airline and, most crucially here, the EU regulations on compensation, you simply failed to turn up for it.
The first aircraft got you to it's destination, your connecting airport, 90 minutes late, but according to your itinerary on that ticket the connecting airport was in fact your "final" destination for that ticket, and as a result you fall outside the EU261 rules for compensation there - you have to have a delay of more than 3 hours at your final destination.
The EU261 FAQ has this to say about missed flights due to delayed inbound connecting flights:
Do I have any rights if I am not allowed to board my connecting flight because I arrived late at the gates due to a delay with the first flight?
YES - if the flights are part of a single reservation, the carrier has to offer you the option between the reimbursement of your ticket and a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity or re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats. In case you are re-routed and you reach your final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more you are entitled to compensation.
Note the very specific mention of a single reservation. Your tickets constitute multiple, separate reservations.
You can talk to the airline to see if they can rebook you at a lower or no cost, but they have no obligation in this case.
As explained in the other answer and in comments to the question, the responsibility lies with you. You had two separate contracts for travel from A to B and from B to C. You were delayed on A to B, but not enough to trigger any compensation, and you were not on time for check-in or boarding for B to C, so you were considered a no show.
In addition, you definitely had way too little margin, especially if you had checked luggage or for any other reason could not use online/mobile check-in. Unless you travel first of business class, the check-in/baggage drop deadline for LH at FRA is 60 minutes. This means you had one hour to:
- go through immigration (passport control) if you arrived from outside the Schengen Area
- wait for and reclaim your bags
- go through customs
- find and get to the check-in counter (which involves changing floors and possibly several hundred meters walk)
- wait in line
- check-in before the deadline
(after that you still have to go through exit passport control, security, and get to the gate before the boarding deadline, but if you made the check-in deadline it shouldn't be an issue).
Even if the plane was on time, not at a remote stand, you were among the first to deplane, you didn't have to go through passport control, and bags were delivered timely this would be quite tight, especially if you are not familiar with the airport.
If the plane was at a remote stand, you were among the last to deplane, you had to go through passport control, bags took a bit too long to arrive, or, as in you case, the incoming flight was late, then it's just not doable at all.
Note that this is very different from what would happen if you had bought both flights as a single ticket/booking. In that case, your luggage would have been checked through to the final destination, the only deadline is getting to the gate in time, so minimum connection times are much much shorter. And in that case, it would be the airline's responsibility to take care of you and get you to your final destination (and possibly compensate you).
So in your case, the airline has absolutely no obligation to help you. However:
You may ask the airline. Even though they have no obligation, they may want to help you by allowing you to rebook to another flight, either for free or for a fee (still better than having to buy a new ticket altogether). Don't count on assistance (hotel room, meals, etc.) or compensation, however.
If you bought the ticket through a site which specialises in selling separate flights for a single trip such as kiwi.com, they may have an insurance for you to cover precisely this case. Contact them for assistance.
If you have travel insurance (which you may have bought separately, or as an add-on when you booked, or may be part of the services of your credit card if you used one, or may be part of some other insurance or banking contract), check with them. The chances they will cover this are slim (as you had very little margin), but it's worth a try.
Also remember that if your FRA-NYC flight was not the last on your ticket (e.g. the outbound leg on a return ticket), then the airline may have cancelled the rest of the flights as well. Take that into account when considering your options.
It seems like as far rules go, the airline is under absolutely no obligation to help you.
If I were in your shoes, I would argue not that you were delayed by something beyond your control, and try to invoke the "flat tire" rule. Keep trying, calling back. Per @ZachLipton in the comments:
The "flat tire rule" to the extent it exists, is generally a customer service accommodation by the airline and is not an actual "rule" in the contract of carriage. Many major US airlines will help you out by allowing you to be listed without charge as a standby passenger on their next flight if you're late (usually with a limit to how late you can be and other restrictions, such as it not applying to codeshare flights). They have no legal obligation to do so and aren't responsible for your connection, but the airline's staff may have some discretion under their policy. At other airlines, no.
Just to summarize, it is worthwhile to attempt to fly standby, but the airline is under no obligation to help you.