Missed Connecting Flights
A missed connection flight can leave the passenger stranded at the airport for hours on end. Even a small delay in the original flight can cause you to miss your connecting flight and wait for hours on a replacement flight. This is not only frustrating, it can also become a financial burden to you. Therefore, it is good to know you are protected by air passenger rights in the event of a missed connecting flight due to delay.
For refund purposes, European Passenger Rights Regulation EC 261/04 (which also guarantees compensation for flight delays, flight cancellations and overbookings) only considers the delay at the passenger’s final destination.
- The threshold for missed flight compensation is a delay of three hours or more at your destination airport. That means that a cancellation or even a short delay of the first flight can entitle the passenger to a payment of up to €600 – if that cancellation or delay caused the passenger to miss a connection flight and, as a result, reach the final destination with a delay of three hours or more.
- If extraordinary circumstances such as a strike or severe weather caused the delay that led to a missed connection, the airline would not be obliged to pay the passenger a refund. However, a mechanical fault detected during regular maintenance check-ups is generally not considered an extraordinary circumstance, meaning that passengers who eventually miss a connecting flight because of a mechanical or technical fault are entitled to compensation.
- Take off or landing occurred within the EU or you booked several flights in a row? Then you are also eligible for compensation.
Missed connection? Get help quickly.
If you were affected by a missed connecting flight and want to file a claim for missed flight compensation with the help of flight delay claimers, please take the following steps:
- Enter the flight data of your missed connecting flight into the claim calculator found on our website.
- You will be notified immediately how much you are owed.
- Now sign a power of attorney and we will take care of the rest on your behalf.
We will contact the airline in question. If the airline refuses to pay compensation for your missed connection, we will take the claim to court, at no extra cost to you. Our Europe-wide network of passenger rights lawyers has a proven track record in securing compensation for missed connecting flights.
I missed my connecting flight – how can I receive compensation?
The initial step would be to use our claim calculator or freely available app. Begin by entering all of your flight data – you will then very intuitively be guided through each following step. You will be required to enter your flight number and date, your booking code, as well as the problem which led to your missed connecting flight. As a result, you will be notified whether you are entitled to missed connecting flight compensation, and, subsequently, the amount of compensation you are owed. From this step on, we take care of the rest of the claim procedure. If required, we will even take your case to court
What are the requirements to be entitled to compensation for your missed flight connection?
Fault of the airline
Under EC 261, passengers are eligible to claim compensation when then these three flight disruptions occur: a 3-hour (or more) delayed flight at your final destination, cancellation and denied boarding.
Therefore, if you miss a flight connection as a result of these listed flight incidents, you are eligible for a missed connecting flight compensation.
Remember that in relation to the 3-hour (or more) delay principle, it is immaterial how long the delay is that caused the missed connection. The focus is on the length of delay of your final destination which has to be three hours or more.
Qualify under EC 261
For you to be entitled to claim cash compensation under EC 261, your flight must be either:
- Taking off from an EU airport and operated by any airline
- arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline
Missed connection compensation—when are you not eligible?
If the reason for a flight delay, denied boarding or cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances. These instances are deemed to be outside the control of the airline.
As a result, the airline is not responsible and not obligated to pay compensation.
These include situations like lightning strikes, medical emergencies, airport employee strikes or air traffic control strikes, serious adverse weather conditions, air traffic control restrictions, sudden malfunctioning of the airport radar, acts of sabotage, political unrest, acts of terrorism… you get the idea.
Airlines are only held responsible for things that they control.
Airline strikes do not fall under extraordinary circumstances
In April 2018, the ECJ made a ruling stating that internal ‘wildcat strikes’ by flight staff do not constitute as ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
This means that announced airline strikes do not qualify as ‘extraordinary’.
Therefore, airlines must now compensate air passengers for flight delays and cancellations, when an airline strike is to blame.
Can I file a claim for several other people on board the aircraft?
If you are affected and wish to file a class-action suit with others on board, you are able to do so. You may also do so if you yourself were not a passenger on board. In such a case, you will serve as the contact person. Please note that the entitled claimant is solely the passenger affected by the missed connecting flight – regardless of who purchased the tickets.
How much compensation am I entitled to?
To qualify for missed connection compensation, you must satisfy the following criteria:
- You bought your tickets on the same reservation
- Your flight falls under the criteria listed under EC 261
- The airline is responsible for the missed connection
Once you satisfy this, you are entitled to compensation even if you accept a replacement flight to your destination or a flight back to your point of departure.
How is the amount calculated?
For trips with several legs, the focus is not the destination at the point of origin (i.e. the delayed departure). Rather, its the delayed arrival at the very final destination of the whole itinerary booked under the same booking reference.
In case of cancellation (or delay fewer than 4 hours for long-distance flights 3500 km), your compensation amount may be halved, depending on the overall amount of time you would be delayed in arriving at your final destination on an alternate flight (compared to your originally booked flight).
- For flights less than 1,500 km: £210
- For flights between 1,500 and 3,500 km: £340
(and all flights over 1,500 km within the EU)
- For flights longer than 3,500 km: £510
When it comes to claiming compensation, the determining factor is the distance from the destination of the cancelled first flight and the arrival time for the taken alternative flight.
What type of traveller do I need to be to claim compensation?
The following types of travellers or ticket types are all eligible to missed connection compensation providing the criteria laid out in EC 261 are satisfied:
Package holiday deals
Children on paid tickets
Remember that although most travellers are entitled to claim compensation, there are a few exceptions.
Namely, passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public, do not qualify for compensation.
Flight cancellations UK—what about Brexit?
These missed connection rights fall under the regulations for EU flight delay compensation.
Consequently, they apply until the UK officially leaves the union.
Time will tell how this impacts the UK but until then, the regulations stated above are the current law.
What happens if you miss a connecting flight on purpose?
As can be expected, if you are responsible for missing your connecting flight, the airline is not obligated to pay you any compensation.
If you ask the airline to assist you with your re-booking, they may oblige. However, they are under no obligation to do so.
When you have a journey that requires connecting flights or you are flying into a popular airport, ensure you have plenty of time between flights.
When it comes to air travel, it’s better to be safe than sorry.