Unless you live in a major city with a large airline hub, you will have to make connections in order to get from point A to point B. Whenever there’s a connection, there’s always that chance you could miss your flight. Below are five tips on how to avoid missed connections and what you can do if the worst happens.
1. Don’t make tight connections
I know this is common sense, but it is worth stating the obvious. One time I was flying from New Orleans to Baltimore with a connection at Houston Intercontinental. I should have checked closer at the times, because after I booked the flight, I noticed I only had a half hour connection time in Houston -- which is a huge airport. But by then, it was too late. So when booking a flight, make sure you have at least a one-hour connection.
2. Talk to a human
After I used the kiosk in New Orleans to check in for my flight, I then went to the ticket counter to speak with an agent. I explained my predicament, and he was able to mark my passenger record to let them know I would have a tight connection and would need a cart. He also gave me a seat toward the front of the plane, which can save precious minutes.
3. Pick up the phone
Most airlines, along with services like FlightView (my story here), have text message services that give you flight status alerts. A bonus with this is if you are running late, they have the ability to automatically rebook you on a later flight. If you choose not to use the text service, at least make sure you have your airline on speed dial to call them in case the worst happens.
4. Carry your own luggage
There are some connections that actually force you to leave security and recheck in at another terminal. If you’ve checked luggage, it means that you will be wasting precious minutes waiting for your bags and rechecking them. Plus it can be harder for airlines to reaccommodate a passenger since they may not be able to guarantee that their luggage will arrive at the same time. And forget about seeing your checked luggage if you are booked on a connecting flight with a tight connection.
5. Check in before arriving to the airport
These days, anyone can print a boarding pass in the comfort of their home. They can also download a mobile boarding pass on their smartphones. So why waste time at the airport checking in via skycaps, kiosks, or ticketing agents? Plus, if you need to make changes, it’s less crowded at customer service counters or gates past airport security.