AirHelp has revealed that passengers in the United States are entitled to a total of more than $555 million following missed connecting flights. Every frequent flyer knows how the stress adds up when sitting on a delayed flight, knowing that they might miss their connection. It is a common fear. This can be particularly stressful when flying with family and kids.
There is some comfort to be had, though. Air passengers who have missed their connecting flight due to a previous flight disruption may be entitled to an alternative flight and compensation of up to $700. AirHelp, the world’s leading flight compensation company for passenger rights, sheds lights on recommended transfer times at different airports.
Missed connecting flight: compensation up to $700
The airline operating the disrupted flight should offer affected passengers alternative transport if both flights have been booked together under the same booking reference. In addition, the airline must also pay passengers between $300 to $700 in compensation if the passenger arrives at the final destination more than three hours late when the missed connection is due to a delay on a previous flight. The passenger may also be entitled to compensation if they miss a connection when the passenger is denied boarding, or if their first flight has been cancelled. If the cause is a cancellation, flights can still be eligible even if the total delay to the final destination is less than 3 hours.
If you have a multi-flight trip, it’s possible that only a portion of it will be factored into your compensation. To determine this, your journey must meet a few conditions:
- All flights must be under one booking, not purchased individually
- Your disruption must be eligible under EC 261, including being caused by the airline and not factors such as a strike or bad weather conditions
As the amount of compensation due depends on the distance, the disrupted flight and any legs that come after it are factored in. Any legs of the journey that came before the disruption might be included as well if they were operated by the same carrier responsible for the delay, and if there were no intervening flights operated by a different carrier.
If one airline causes a missed connection, they are usually responsible for all of their own flights, even if they came before the disruption. They are also responsible for any later flights that are affected independently of the operating airline.
Transfer times at airports: consider this when booking connecting flights separately
When booking connecting flights, the individual transfer times at the respective airports must be taken into consideration. The guidelines for transfer time are set by each airport itself, and may differ depending on the route, as the route determines the gates and terminals. For example, the connecting time may be larger for international flights than national flights, but as an average the recommendations for time required within a range of an hour in Frankfurt am Main, 90 minutes in Miami. and as much as three hours in Beijing.
These times are particularly important for passengers who book their flights individually. Anyone who misses their flight between two separately booked legs may not be entitled to an alternative flight or a compensation payment for their missed connecting flight, unless the first flight was delayed by more than three hours.
Stranded at the airport? These are your rights
If a passenger is stranded for an extended period of time at the airport and does not accept any offer that results in them waiving their right to compensation, such as accepting a bonus points voucher, the passenger can file a claim for later on. In addition, the affected parties should keep all receipts for any expenses incurred as a result of the delay.
Entitlement to compensation is regulated by EC 261, which covers all flights departing from a country in the EU. Flights returning to the EU are only covered if the airline operating the flight is from the EU. US travelers are covered on all flights within the EU and departing from the EU, as well as for flights on EU airline carriers. However, no claim for compensation will be valid if extraordinary circumstances are the reason for the delay. Examples of “extraordinary circumstances” deemed by the courts include bad weather, security threats and airport strikes.
On top of EC 261 compensation, the carrier also must provide passengers with meals and refreshments during the delay, as well as access to communications, including telephone calls, fax messages, and emails. If the passenger is forced to stay overnight due to the delay, the flight company also should pay for the hotel, and transport to and from the airport.