Missed Connection? Check Your Air Passenger Rights and See if You Are Eligible for up to €600 Compensation

If you think you might be entitled to missed connection compensation, then the first step in standing up for your air passenger rights is knowing what they are.

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Missed Connections

Missed connections happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. We can tell you what your air passenger rights are when your travel plans don’t go as scheduled. If your missed connection meets certain conditions, you might be entitled to up to $700 in compensation.

Missed Connections on EU Flights: What to Do

For passengers on flights to or from the European Union, here’s what to do when you experience a missed connection:

If you purchased your flights individually (not under one booking) you will not be eligible for compensation.

The delay at your final destination must be longer than three hours in order to be eligible for compensation.

The more specific the reason, the better. If they say that it’s due to “operational circumstances” or “flight safety shortcomings,” ask them for more detail. This information is important down the line if you decide to file a claim. For example, if extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather, medical emergencies, or labor strikes caused the delay that led to a missed connection, these all count as extraordinary circumstances and are quite fairly deemed outside the control of the airlines. The same applies to air traffic control restrictions, something going wrong with the airport’s radar, acts of sabotage or terrorism. The airlines are only held responsible for things that they control.

6.4 million

On average, 6.4 million people worldwide areeligible for compensation
under European Regulation (EC261) air passenger rights laws since 2015.

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Missed Connections on US Flights: What to Do

Travelers on domestic flights within the United States don’t have many rights when it comes to missed connections. However, if one leg of your connecting flight is within Europe you might be eligible for compensation. Here are a few pointers to follow:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

US airlines aren’t obligated to provide you with anything, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re willing to haggle a bit, you may be able to get something for your troubles, particularly if you’re a frequent flyer or preferred customer.

One example is if you are flying from Europe to the United States on a US airline, with a stop in the US. The first leg of the trip, from the EU to the US, would obviously be eligible for compensation under EU regulation EC 261. But the second flight—between two US cities—is not covered, even if the two flights are with the same carrier and part of the same flight reservation (under one booking reference number).

6.4 million

On average, 6.4 million people worldwide are eligible for compensation
under European Regulation (EC261) air passenger rights laws since 2015.

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Missed Connections on International Flights: What to Do

For international flights, here’s what to do when you experience a missed connection:

If you don’t have your boarding pass, you can use any flight document with a booking reference number. This number is assigned to your flight reservation by the airline and is a six-digit code, which may include both letters and numbers.

The more specific the reason, the better. If they say that it’s due to “operational circumstances” or “flight safety shortcomings,” ask them for more detail. This information is important down the line if you decide to file a claim. For example, if extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather, medical emergencies, or labor strikes caused the delay that led to a missed connection, these all count as extraordinary circumstances and are quite fairly deemed outside the control of the airlines. The same applies to air traffic control restrictions, something going wrong with the airport’s radar, acts of sabotage or terrorism. The airlines are only held responsible for things that they control.

Whether it’s missing out on a pre-paid reservation, hotel, rental car, or other unexpected costs, you may be able to recover expenses caused by your flight disruption. That paper trail will help lead you to your compensation.

Let’s look at an example of a missed connection when you’re travelling from Los Angeles to Warsaw, via New York and Frankfurt.

LAX destination arrow WAW destination arrow JFK destination arrow FRA

Let’s also imagine that the first flight is with a US carrier, like Delta, and the last two legs are with Lufthansa an EU carrier. If the flight from Frankfurt to Warsaw is delayed by more than three hours, then the last two legs of the trip are normally factored into the eligible distance. That’s from New York to Warsaw.

The disruption occurred on a flight that was covered under EC 261 and, since Lufthansa also operated the flight from New York to Frankfurt, it’s usually included – even though it was prior to the disruption.

However if the flight from Los Angeles to New York has caused the delay, the flight would not be covered under EC 261. Although this rule generally holds true, some national courts interpret the regulation differently and may not include prior connecting flights in the eligible distance.

6.4 million

On average, 6.4 million people worldwide are eligible for compensation
under European Regulation (EC261) air passenger rights laws since 2015.

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See if your flight is eligible.

Had a flight delay or other air travel problem in the last three years? Just give us your flight details and we’ll let you know if you’re owed money.

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