What happens if you book tickets through an airline or travel agent, but on the travel date miss a connecting flight (either because the first flight was delayed, or because immigration/security took too long at the connecting airport)? Will you be put on the next flight for free? Are you expected to pay for a new ticket or a change fee? I'm specifically wondering about Continental/United, but also curious about airlines in general.

  • 3
    Is this for a through booking with the same airline / airline alliance, or for two independent bookings? The answer is very very different for the two...
    – Gagravarr
    Sep 22, 2011 at 21:33
  • @Gagravarr: Booked together as part of the same itinerary (with the same airline or travel agent), not two independent bookings (where I assume you'd be completely out of luck).
    – jrdioko
    Sep 22, 2011 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


Generally, if you have a through booking, then if you miss the flight because of the airline's fault then you become their problem.

This doesn't mean you'll automatically get put on the next flight. You'll need to talk to the airline and ask for help, and ask for re-booking. If the next flight has spare seats, then all should be well. Most likely though, you'll get put on standby for the next flight, and hopefully will make the next one or the one after. As it's the airline's fault, you should get meal vouchers, help with a hotel if needed etc. (Note - the exact level of help you get depends on the jurisdiction you're in, and the home jurisdiction of the airline)

However, if you miss the connecting flight because of your own fault (eg you fall asleep while waiting near the gate), then it's probably no different to if you have two independent bookings....

  • I believe that you will not get meal or hotel vouchers if it is a weather delay, but the rest of the answer still applies.
    – KeithB
    Sep 23, 2011 at 13:30
  • 1
    Depends on where you are in the world - I believe that the European passenger rights always apply no matter the reason
    – Gagravarr
    Sep 23, 2011 at 15:35
  • You may be right, I was thinking US and forgot that these things vary around the world.
    – KeithB
    Sep 23, 2011 at 19:23
  • @KeithB: I can confirm that I got a hotel voucher from BA after missing a connection at Heathrow due to bad weather. Sep 17, 2012 at 16:00
  • 4
    What if it's the fault of a third party (in particular, security or immigration control)? How fast do I have to run for it to not be my fault (if the flight is delayed, but still lands before the gates close for my next flight)?
    – Max
    Aug 4, 2015 at 23:20

Normally you will be put on a later flight free if you miss a connection because of a previous flight delay. I'm not sure about security and customs delays.

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