Airport queues: Your rights if you miss a flight because you are late

Traffic jams, train congestion and airport queues can lead to a stressful time when you are trying to catch a flight.

If you miss a flight and it’s the airline’s fault you can get money back. But if you miss it because you were not at the gate in time, then you do not have the same rights. However, there are things you can do to try and claw some money back, or get on to a flight, or even to get through security quicker when the clock is ticking.

With more ‘chaos’ reported at Manchester and Birmingham airports where passengers have said they have been standing in security queues for hours, we take a look at your rights if you miss your flight.

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Can I get a refund if I miss my flight due to airport security delays?

In general, you will not be entitled to a refund if you miss your flight because you are not at the departure gate in time. Even if that is because the airport security queues were too long and you stood there for hours. If you miss a flight because you are not at the gate in time, it is deemed to be your fault.

The only scenario you are entitled to a refund in is if the airline cancels your flight. You can also get money back for delayed flights too.

As Flight Delayed states: “What happens very often is that passengers arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check-in, only to find that there are huge queues. What most people don’t realize is that airlines will most likely deny you boarding if the long queues cause you to not arrive at the check-in desk or gate on time, despite what airport personnel may tell you.

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“If you’ve arrived late at the airport at your own fault, unfortunately, the airline is not forced to provide you with a replacement flight and you will have to cover the expenses if you still want to travel to your final destination.”

TravelSupermarket says: “Unfortunately if you’ve missed your flight due to a fault of your own, you will not receive a refund from your airline.

“Generally, the only time you will get your money back is if the airline cancels your flight.”

If you miss your flight, you can try and claim Air Passenger Duty back from your airline, although some airlines, like Jet2, charge for this service. You can claim £26 for short-haul flights and £150 for the long haul.

I’m running late for my flight and there’s a huge security queue, what can I do?

If you are stuck in the security queue and can see it’s getting to be a close shave with making your flight, try speaking to a member of staff. Sometimes they are willing to move passengers to the front of the queue if their flight is imminent. Don’t rely on that though, it is probably less likely to work when airport queues are leaving angry passengers stuck in lines for hours.

If it is clear you are going to miss your flight, get in touch with the airline. There is a chance that if enough passengers are late, they could delay the flight. This also means you are not a “no show” so the airline may help you move onto another flight. In addition, your checked-in luggage can be removed from the plane and given back to you.

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Does my airline have to get me on the next flight if I miss mine?

If you have missed a flight because you are late for it and it’s your own fault (and it’s considered your fault if it’s down to lengthy security queues) the airline does not have to put you on another flight – different rules apply to connecting flights if you have missed them due to a delay. However, if you speak to your airline as early as possible, they may be able to offer you a ticket on another flight.

Some airlines will rebook you onto another flight for a small(ish) fee if you have arrived at the airport within a reasonable time. Ryanair, for example, will offer customers a £100 “missed departure” fee to rebook them if they arrive within an hour of their original flight’s departure time. Easyjet offers a £100 “rescue fee” to rebook passengers if they arrive within two hours of their original departure time.

“To do this, you must present yourself, with valid documents, to our ground crew at bag drop at the airport within two hours following your missed flight’s scheduled departure time,” EasyJet says.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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