Most of us have experienced a flight delay while traveling for business, right? How about a flight delay that resulted in a missed connection? What did you do about it? Did you feel like you had support during this time?
I recently flew United Airlines from Honolulu to San Francisco and then onto Salt Lake City. The flight from Honolulu departed approximately 10 minutes late. This was not a problem considering we had an hour to connect and would be arriving in the same terminal as our connecting plane. However, upon arrival into San Francisco we were held on our plane for more than 40 minutes as we waited for our gate to open. This wait seemed to last an eternity knowing that I was going to miss my flight and that there was nothing I could do.
But worrying wasn’t going to help the situation, so we kindly asked the flight attendant to make an announcement to allow the connecting passengers off the flight before the rest of the plane de-boarded. It was really all we could do at that point.
Since then, I’ve thought about this experience and wanted to share a few more tips for other business travelers who might be facing the same situation. And if you have any additional ideas, please share them in the comments below.
Business Travelers: What To Do if You Encounter a Flight Delay that Results in a Missed Connection
- Ask the flight attendant to make an announcement to allow connecting passengers off the flight before the rest of the plane de-boards.
- Turn your phone on and use TripIt alerts to find out where your next gate is. This really helped me hurry because I didn’t have to find a monitor in the terminal to look up my gate.
- Ask the gate agent for assistance. If, upon arriving at your gate, you find that the door has closed, it doesn’t matter. They won’t let you on even if the plane is still there. But make sure the gate agent helps you find an airline ticketing counter or help desk.
- When at the ticketing counter demand assistance, professionally of course. If you don’t get the answer you want, ask for a supervisor or insist on additional help. When I went to the ticketing counter I didn’t get the answer I wanted and I thought “being nice” was going to be best. However, had I asked more questions and demanded a supervisor I could have been compensated for my hotel stay.
Remember, you are the customer and the business traveler. You do have rights and the airlines do have a commitment to make sure their travelers get to their appropriate destination.