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July 12, 2011


by Val Reynolds
Watching the flight information board

Watching the flight information board

The most common reasons and some practical advice to help ensure you catch your flight 

Travel website has carried out research to find out the most common reasons why travellers miss their flights and provide some helpful hints and tips on how to avoid the most common reasons for missing a flight:

Problem: Mis-read and mis-spelt documents

SOLUTION: On receipt of your documents check the name, spelling and flight details are correct.

Problem:  Flight schedule changes

SOLUTION: Check your latest paperwork for any changes. Remember the times on the ticket will be written using the 24 hr clock.

Problem: Traffic delays caused by road accidents and road works or engineering works on railways

SOLUTION: Check with the RAC and AA for any delays, accidents or engineering works that may affect your route and if need be find an alternative route.

Denied permission to travel due to incorrect passport or expired passports.

SOLUTION: Review your passport in advance to ensure it still has six months to run after your return to the UK. Also remember to pack your passport in your hand luggage.

Problem Essential medication needed urgently but packed in the hold luggage which has been checked–in

SOLUTION: If your bags do not join you on the aircraft you run the risk of missing your flight. Make sure any prescribed medication is packed in your hand luggage just in case you need it before the flight departs. Most airports have a chemist but they may not stock your particular prescription.

Problem Too late to check-in

SOLUTION: Add more time – Airports are big and somewhere you might not be familiar with. Never under estimate your timings, make sure you have left plenty of time to get from the airport car park, (which may require a transfer service) to the terminal, and into the correct check-in zone. Remember there may be a queue at check-in. Make sure you know which terminal as some airport have more than one and airlines can also fly out of more than one terminal.

Problem Not allowing enough time to get to the departure gate once checked-in

SOLUTION: Airlines are requiring their passengers to arrive at the gate for their flights earlier than in the past. Plan on getting to the gate at least 30 minutes before your flight departs and remember some gates can be as much as 25 minutes away from the main retail area. If you’re late they won’t wait.

Problem Flights not connecting

SOLUTION: Connecting flights are the most difficult to negotiate. If there is no nonstop flight, then build extra time into your itinerary for the connection. Don’t take the connecting flight that gives you just 45 minutes to change planes at a busy airport; instead, ask for a 2 to 4 hour layover to make the connection. You may not be able to do this online, instead call your travel agent or the airline directly. Please remember if you have bought two separate flights your connection is never guaranteed.

Having missed your flight first speak to the airline to find out what you need to do. If they can get you on a later flight get in touch with your hotel to make sure they don’t give away your room.

Next contact your travel insurer to let them know the situation and find out if you are covered for any additional costs you may incur as a result of missing your flight.

Airline companies vary in the way they will treat your booking if you miss your flight. A good idea is to visit the forums on the internet.

Our experience has been to always have decent insurance cover. Finding that insurance will take time and effort. In the long run it is not expensive and could save you a deal of trouble and extra expense. Reputable insurance companies will give you an emergency phone number to call – just remember to take it with you!

Have you had a bad experience? Want to tell us about it? Or, have you had a good experience? Tell us about that too!

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor

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