A relative has gotten their immigrant (green card) visa to the United States. They arrive in the evening, about 7. They're scheduled to take their connection to their new home about 10. So three hour delay, in the evening, for all immigration stuff.

A little reading online shows that the time it takes to progress through Houston immigrant visa stuff is all over the place. Might be an hour, might be three. So there's a possibility they might miss their flight and spend the night in the airport. If this happens is their best bet to talk to United? Will United give them a new ticket, when the delay was due to immigration and was not United's fault? Or should they cut their losses and get a cheap carrier (Spirit)?

  • 4
    Surely it doesn't make sense to cut losses and buy another ticket without at least discussing the problem with United.
    – phoog
    May 11, 2016 at 16:53
  • 1
    United should accommodate them on a later flight, which may well be the next day, especially if the entire itinerary is purchased on a single ticket. Since the delay was caused by the government, United is unlikely to cover a hotel room or food in the meantime. May 11, 2016 at 16:59
  • Please be specific about the destination city, flight numbers if you know them, and day of the week that the flight arrives in Houston. May 11, 2016 at 21:28
  • @choster I'm guessing it's Lufthansa metal into Houston and connecting to a United domestic flight. That's usually how these go. But it would be helpful to have the actual flight numbers. May 11, 2016 at 21:39
  • @MichaelHampton After some digging, I venture it's probably TK33 IST-IAH scheduled to arrive at 19:05. Recent on-time performance is decent.
    – choster
    May 11, 2016 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


When you miss a flight, the airline will generally put you on the next one. That's standard operating procedure here in the US.

From personal experience and from what I've heard from other people, nobody is ever asked to buy a new ticket.

  • They won't typically confirm you, however, so you could spend a good portion of the day on standby. They're also more forgiving if you arrive within a few minutes of departure as opposed to four hours late.
    – choster
    May 12, 2016 at 22:11

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