I flew from Jersey (the island, not the US state) to London Heathrow the other day, and because the flight had been delayed by an hour or so, the flight attendant read out details of what was going to happen with people's connecting flights (which ones they'd been rebooked onto, and so on). One of the flights they read out was for people who had connections straight back to Jersey.

I could understand getting a flight back fairly quickly - maybe you're going over to pick up a child and bring them back to Jersey with you or something - but surely in that case you'd want to go all the way through to departures to get them, and would therefore book two separate flights rather than having a direct connection.

What reasons might someone have to get a connection directly back to where they just came from?

  • 2
    It could simply be that the delay made the original connection impossible (and the next one much later) so they decided to cancel and return home instead. That’s one of the options they have to give you under EC261 rules and local equivalents. But that would have involved communication with the passengers first. This would usually happen only if the delay became known only after boarding was completed (more often it would happen only once the passenger gets to the connecting airport).
    – jcaron
    Jun 2, 2023 at 9:18
  • 3
    Maybe they were a courier who was flying to London to drop off/pick up something. Jun 2, 2023 at 11:53
  • 2
    Could also be someone doing a mileage run. That is, a frequent flyer who is missing just a few miles/points/sectors to reach the next tier (or stay in the current one), and found a cheap ticket which is worth it for them. Or someone who as as you mentioned is there to pick up (or drop off) someone, had originally plenty of time to get landside and back, but is now going to be very tight.
    – jcaron
    Jun 2, 2023 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


A bunch of possible reasons (as also seen from the comments).

  1. Courier
  2. Meeting in the airport
  3. Mileage run
  4. Pick up someone for the return flight (who has already check-in and is through security).
  5. Administrative mishap: they may have read the out the connection info without someone actual having booked it.

but surely in that case you'd want to go all the way through to departures to get them

The person may have very well planned to do that. If you are on a connection, there is nothing that prevents you from walking out of the airport, provided you have enough time and immigration credentials (if needed). I've certainly done that in Heathrow. The only downside is that you have to go through security to get back in.

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