A 2015 statistic claimed 850,000 plane passengers in the US arrive late every day. According to the same source, this accounts for 40%. Their late flights often result in missing their next flights. While this is a broad assumption, it suggests that nearly half of frequent flyers miss their flights every day. Depending on how often you’re on a plane, you have a 40-60 chance of missing every flight you ever take. That’s nearly half, and it’s not a pretty picture. So what happens when you do miss your flight?
If you were flying for an important appointment, like a job interview or a doctor’s visit, you’re out of luck. Not many employment opportunities can be rescheduled. And if you had to fly into a different state, country, or continent to see this particular health expert, they must be really busy. It could take ages to get another appointment, and you’ll probably be charged for the one you missed, because they saved you the slot, which means they closed to door to other paying customers during your missed session.
You may have had to take time off work for that appointment, so it may not be that simple to get more time. And if it was an overseas trip, there might be visa issues to contend with. It also interferes with some of the smaller things, like getting a babysitter for the additional time away. Of course the biggest challenge is getting refunds on your ticket. Not many airlines will pay you back, and if they do get you another flight, you’ll have to pay a hefty cancelation fee. For corporate flights, missing yours makes you look unprofessional.
Flights and faults
Of course airlines aren’t always to blame for your missed flight. Other times, your tardiness was a result of poor planning, or traffic. In some countries, you have to check in two hours before your plane leaves, so this lessens the chances of airline error. You can’t always plan for traffic, but you’d rather be at the airport hours in advance than be rushing through the halls. And with increased security measures in the post-terrorist world, check-in requires more time. You also want some wiggle room in case there’s an issue with contraband baggage.
To save yourself the time and hassle, prepare for your flight in advance. This goes beyond updating your passport and getting your vaccinations in order. You’ll want to plan your route to the airport, leaving an allowance for snarl-ups or car breakdowns. You should also organise your parking situation beforehand. Use an airport parking service you can book early. Some have valet services that will take your car the second you arrive, find it a safe slot, and keep it secure until you get back.
If you like, you can request additional services, like a car wash, wax, or polish. They’ll have your car spotless and waiting on your return flight. Because you can ring ahead of time, you can select your preferred parking slot, whether it’s an open air position or something covered. The latter is better for longer trips, because you don’t know what the weather will be like. You can also request extra security, CCTV, or foot patrols. They’re often part of the deal for indoor parking options. And it’s cheaper than using the regular airport parking space.
You can increase your chances of catching the flight by asking for help. When you’re travelling with children, the elderly, the invalid, or the terminally tardy, you’re going to need assistance. Some park-and-fly services have in-house attendants that are willing to deal with the not-so-little things, like unbuckling car seats, dismantling wheelchairs, or ferrying differently-abled passengers. It saves you a lot of time and stress, making your experience far more bearable. Explore in advance to see how far the car park is from check-in.
As you plan your journey, factor in the time needed to walk from the car to the terminal, especially with heavy luggage and multiple travel companions. If it’s a long stretch, find out whether your parking service has airport shuttles. They generally work on a timetable. Certain companies have shuttles every ten minutes, but others are an hour apart, so time yourself accordingly.
Be sure to double-check the car, not just for forgotten bags, but also for valuables that could get lost or stolen. If you do leave something in the car, get in touch with your parking service as soon as you can. Some are pretty good about safe-guarding your property, and the lowered stress levels will make your flight far smoother. Regulars at the airport can sign up for loyalty parking points. You can trade them in for perks and discounts.