Suppose I have an itinerary A - C with 1 stop at B, booked under a single ticket number on the website of airline X, where the leg A - B is operated by airline Y and B - C is operated by X.

If the flight A - B is delayed to a point where I miss my connection, whose responsibility is it to see that I'm fed, watered, and eventually delivered to destination C? Is it Y or X?

Apart from an academic interest in the answer, I'm going to be travelling on such an itinerary soon, and would like to known with whom I should be having a polite but firm conversation in case things go wrong. In my particular scenario, the leg B - C is only operated a few times a week, not daily, so a missed connection would be quite inconvenient.


If it's an interline itinerary, the airline responsible for the misconnect is mostly responsible for rebooking you. However, that is not your only option. The issuing airline can still rebook you.

For instance, if you booked with American Airlines (AA) and AA issued the ticket and you have status with AA, you might have a better result calling them even if the delayed flight is operated by British Airways (BA).

But it also depends on where you are. If you are at the origination station, the originating airline can and should rebook you. There might be complete different routings available. For example, even though it's an AA ticket, BA could send you through Madrid on Iberia with no AA flight at all.

If you are at the connecting point, the connecting airline is better, especially if it's a hub. There have been many occasions where my immediate goal is just getting to DFW and sort the rest out there.

Basically, it's a shared responsibility. Either BA or AA can help you.

Some friendly advice, getting mad at the Agent won't get you anywhere, literally. They had nothing to do with the delay. Also, if there is a delay, calling reservations will be much faster than waiting in line.

  • I think the question was at least equally concerned with who to seek redress for the hotel and food costs, given the destination the OP was discussing only flies a few times a week (meaning there will be a 2-3 day layover if a connection is missed). – Joe Jul 26 '16 at 20:24
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    That gets a bit tricky since it depends on the reason for the delay. If it's weather, you might be on your own. If it's mechanical, the airline responsible for the delay should take care of you. The problem is sometimes finding an Agent who can assist. There are two words that make this all go away...Travel Insurance. – Johns-305 Jul 26 '16 at 21:32

I think there are two separate issues here. The carrier that will make sure you will get from B-C will be the airline that operates that flight. They will most likely reschedule you onto the next flight to destination C (unless rerouting you through city D is an option).

The second issue is who will make sure you are fed and watered. From my personal experience, the two airlines may try to say that the other is responsible for feeding you but I think that you will have more luck with the airline you bought the ticket from (note that even if you bought the ticket through a third party, you can tell on the itinerary whether the entire trip was sold to you through airline X or airline Y).

Another more practical comment - if you are indeed caught in such a delay but there is still a slim chance you can make the connecting flight (like if you have 20 minutes left and can possibly make a run for it), let the flight attendants know. They may be able to move you to a seat closer to the exit before landing. I have done this multiple times and it can make a big difference in making the connection.

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