Airplanes have become a popular transport means for many reasons—including their relative safety, speed, comfort, and reliability over other means of transportation. However, flying on an airplane can seem somewhat technical to some people, and it’s not uncommon to have questions about how airlines work. For example, it’s pretty normal to ask if connecting flights will wait for late passengers, especially if you’ve never used one.
Airlines will not wait for connecting passengers. Waiting would likely disrupt other passengers’ schedules and may cause them to miss their appointments. However, the airline may book another flight for the late passenger or put them in a hotel for the night if there are no planes available.
Some airlines may wait in rare cases—although there is no way of knowing if they will since it’s not part of any airline’s operating procedure. But there’s no need to fret if you miss a connecting flight—lots of people do! And in this article, I’m going to give you a rundown of the essential things you should know about connecting flights.
What Should You Do if You Miss a Connecting Flight?
Connecting flights are pretty standard in air travel, and you can easily book one using an airline’s website. The flights are generally cheaper than direct flights, but they typically take more time to get you to your destination, and you need to get off one plane and get on another to complete your journey. You might be tempted to panic if you miss a connecting flight, but there’s no need to since there are guidelines on handling the situation.
If you miss your connecting flight, contact the airline as soon as possible. Although you can reach out to them using their website, I’d advise you to call their local number. You can also talk to gate agents if you’re at the airport, and they’ll help you figure out what to do.
Airlines have a wait time for connecting flights, and it’s typically at least 30 minutes for local flights and two hours for international flights. However, the actual wait time depends on the flight you’re on and the airport’s schedule. You can check the minimum wait time—called a Minimum Connecting Time (MCT)—by consulting your travel itinerary or the airline’s website.
I recommend you contact the airline for assistance if you miss a flight—whether it’s the main or the connecting flight. They usually expect a couple of connecting passengers to be late, and most airlines will put you on another flight for free. The airline may also put you in a hotel for the night and book you a new flight if there are no flights to your destination.
However, you may need to pay additional fees in some cases, especially if you missed the flight due to personal reasons. Still, airlines generally treat passengers that miss their connecting flights reasonably well, and you may only pay a fraction of the cost if you’re booking a new ticket.
Remember to be friendly to the airline workers when you contact them, even if the delay was out of your control or even the airline’s fault.
Do Connecting Passengers Have To Go Through Airport Security Again?
The aviation industry might seem like a complicated group of elaborate airlines, mind-boggling flying machines, and complex routes in the sky, but airplanes work in much the same way as more straightforward modes of transport do. They function like buses, complete with waiting times—called layovers—and connecting flights. However, do you have to go through the hassle of airport security if you’re a connecting passenger?
Connecting passengers don’t have to go through airport security during a layover, especially if it’s a local flight. However, some international flights might require you to go through security checks again, but it’s pretty uncommon. Ultimately, it depends on the airline and airport’s policy.
It’s more common to go through security as a connecting passenger if your layover is at an airport with separate security checkpoints for each terminal. These airports usually do not have connected terminals, so they may check all passengers joining a flight—connecting or otherwise—to ensure that everything and everyone is in order.
Still, security checks for connecting passengers are pretty rare as the airlines expect they would have to go through security at their departure airport.
I recommend reaching out to the airline or asking the airport agents for help if you have a connecting flight and are unsure of the security policy for connecting passengers. They can help you so you can carefully plan your journey.
Tips for Making a Connecting Flight
You can miss a connecting flight for various reasons—including a faulty alarm, departure delays, technical issues, or even plain bad luck. And even though missing a connecting flight can disrupt your schedule, you don’t have to worry too much about it. Still, I expect you’d like to always make your connecting flights, so here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Ensure you learn how long your airport requires for a Minimum Connection Time (MCT). MCTs vary for different flights, airports, and airlines. Knowing the needed waiting time at your connecting airport will help you plan your trip more efficiently.
- Book flights with more extended layovers so you can allow for delays. You can personalize your connecting flights to an extent, and you may be tempted to book flights with short layovers. However, booking a flight with a longer layover will enable you to fly with the comfort that you’ll make your next flight even if there are delays.
- Buy a single ticket for connecting flights. You may be tempted to use a self-connecting flight or buy two tickets for your trip, but it’s usually not worth the extra stress, even if it might be cheaper. Flying on a single ticket will help you get through terminals quicker and ensure your journey is more comfortable.
- Ensure your seat is as close to the front of the plane as possible. You may have to pay extra, but sitting close to the exit of your first flight can help you save significant time when deplaning.
Airlines will not wait for connecting passengers, but they’ll make provisions for you if you contact them. Most airlines will put you on the next available flight or put you in a hotel if there’s no available flight left for the day. Missing a connecting flight doesn’t have to be stressful, and you can successfully reach your destination if you follow the tips in this article.
- Skycop: 5 Great Reasons To Travel By Air
- Claim Compass: Minimum Connecting Time: How to Enforce Your Right to Compensation
- National Geographic: As Billions More Fly, Here’s How Aviation Could Evolve
- To70: Self-connect; a new way of connecting flights?
- Alternative Airlines: A Guide to Connecting Flights
- Tripadvisor: Will airlines wait for transferring passengers?
- Travel Stack Exchange: Will the airline wait for me if my incoming flight is delayed (same airline)?
- Vox: Airlines don’t usually hold connecting flights for delayed passengers. That could be changing.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights: What is a Connecting Flight?
- AirHelp: Missed Your Connecting Flight? Here’s What to Do
- Momondo: How to book the best connecting flights for your next trip
- Quora: How do I book connecting flights on different airlines?
- USA Today: Tips for making a connecting flight
- Smarter Travel: Tight Airport Connections: What You Need to Know About Making a Connecting Flight