So you missed your flight. Now what?

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When it comes to airport worst-case scenarios, missing a flight has got to be right at the top. Whether it’s caused by a missed connection or plain old bad luck, here’s what to do if you arrive at the airport only to find your flight has left without you on it.

1. Notify the airline

Most airlines have a policy for what to do with passengers who have missed their flight. Typically, if you arrive at the airport within two hours of your flight’s departure, you’ll be put on the next available flight or on standby if it's is fully booked. Once you arrive at the airport, head to your departure gate or the airline’s customer service desk and explain what happened. Better yet, if you’re on your way to the airport and know you’re not going to make it, call the airline to make them aware and they can direct you accordingly.

2. Deal with missed connections

Sometimes a missed flight can cause a chain reaction in travel plans. If this missed flight is going to result in a missed connection, alert the airline so they can assist with alternate arrangements.    

3. Notify the hotel

Once you’ve figured out your new flight plan, update your destination hotel. Whether you’ve arranged for transportation from the airport or will be checking in later than expected, keep them in the loop so you don’t face any unexpected fees upon your eventual arrival.

4. Review your insurance

Do you have travel or cancellation insurance? Even if you didn’t opt in when you were purchasing your flight, many credit card companies now cover things like unexpected travel expenses or missed flights. While you’re waiting for your new flight to depart, contact you credit card customer service to see if you’re eligible for any sort of payout.

5. Investigate other options

Depending on your travel plans, a missed flight may simply mean you’re going to make it to your destination a little later than planned. But, if your flight was one of the only departures of the day (or worse, of the week), you may have to look into a one-way ticket option. Before booking an entirely new flight, make sure that it won’t cancel the remainder of your original itinerary or have any effect on your return flights home.

6. Make the most of your time

Okay, so missing your flight wasn’t exactly how you planned to spend your day at the airport but there’s no use moping around feeling sorry for yourself – these things happen. Once you’ve settled on your new arrangements, head to the concourse and do something to make the most of the situation. Maybe that’s grabbing a nice meal at one of the restaurants you never have time to check out or going for one of those 15-minute massages – why not get two?! Worst-case scenario, you can catch up on some reading, emails or maybe just a little shut-eye while you’re waiting for your next departure.