I like to think I have some expertise in handling missed flights, though I’m not sure it’s something to be proud of. I’ve missed flights to Bali, Singapore, and Phuket! Anyone who has ever set foot in Jakarta knows not to take chances with its traffic, and I’ll readily admit my missed flights to Bali and Singapore was probably my own fault for miscalculating times… But for my Phuket flight, I left home a full four hours before my departure time! People who don’t have to deal with Jakarta’s traffic are so lucky.
Unfortunately for me, at the time direct flights to Phuket from Jakarta were only available two days a week. So by the time I got to the airport, I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to just grab the next flight out. Everything had already been paid for, my office wasn’t expecting me back for another week, and my poor cousin was already on her way to Phuket… One way or another I had to figure out a way to still go on my holiday. Some people would have just let things go at this point, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. I wanted my holiday!
I managed to snag a flight to Bangkok, and I figured from there I could catch a flight to Phuket. I was trying to figure things out in my head, when I noticed that the guy sitting next to me spoke in Thai. Our conversation began with a simple question about the distance from Don Mueang International Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport. My barrage of questions probably tipped him off that something was wrong, and I ended up explaining that I had missed my flight.
“God sent me to you!” he suddenly exclaimed. He explained that he had tickets to Phuket but would not be able to go on the trip, and this lovely angel told me that I could have his tickets. As soon as we touched down on Don Mueang International Airport, he made a call to Bangkok Air to transfer his tickets to me. He quickly pushed me in the directions I needed to go and told me that everything was sorted and that I had to hurry to catch my connecting flight. He refused to accept any form of payment as compensation for his tickets, and I only figured out as I got into the taxi that he had paid for the name change himself! THANK YOU PRASTI!
While I do believe that generous humans are in abundance, you can’t really rely on them to always appear in your time of need. So here are some things you need to do!
SAVE TIME BY CHECKING IN ONLINE
This one is more of a prevention than a solution. If you check in online, you are telling the airline that you have every intention of flying, and that might buy you precious minutes. Another advantage to checking in online is that you’ll be saved from having to queue for document checks, so it’s worth doing anyway.
ALWAYS STAY INFORMED
Still more on the prevention side of things, always make sure that you’re well informed of your destination’s airport condition. Does it tend to be crowded? Are things placed far apart? Is it notorious for being complicated to navigate? This is especially important if you have connecting flights as some airports may require you to travel via other modes of transportation to continue on your journey.
We’re going all Douglas Adams on you – ‘Don’t panic!’ is basically top on our priorities when facing unexpected bumps on the road. You can have a short freak put, but more often than not panicking will just make things worse. Take a second to breathe in and out. With modern technology on our side, the solution is often a click away.
ALWAYS KEEP TRAVEL APPS ON YOUR PHONE
If like me, you’ve calculated ahead of time that you might miss your flight, a quick look at travel apps will give you a Plan B. It’s also important to note that some airports don’t provide ticket purchasing counters. If you purchase via app, then you won’t have to panic. Not only that, in the unfortunate event you do miss your flight, these apps will give you a list of the cheapest available flights! BUT you need to check with your airline if this will be a problem as buying a one way ticket might cancel the rest of your itinerary (this is important if you also purchased connecting or return flights).
If you’re on your way but by your calculations you might cut it very close to the cut off check in or departure, give your airline a call and see if they can help you out. They may have a seat on the next flight and you won’t have to pay a full fee for the time change. Please note that this is subject to terms and conditions as promo, discount and certain cheap tickets are not given this safety net. Always check the terms and conditions of your tickets prior to purchase! Most airlines can be quite helpful as long as you give them ample time to reorganize. It never hurts to check.
What to do if you’ve missed your flight? Please write at the command box.