Even the most seasoned travelers fall foul of the mistakes that make you miss a flight. Even with the most careful planning things can go wrong. However, when you are making your travel plans, factor into account for these mistakes that make you miss a flight and you stand more than a good chance of being on that plane.
One of the most common mistakes that make you miss a flight is simply not having enough time between connections, especially for international travel. When booking tickets online, you will often be told that you only need 45 minutes or so between flights; as a general rule, you should try to have at least an hour and a half between flights, especially if you are in a new airport. Of course if you know your way around the terminals like the back of your hand you won’t need quite as long to get organized, but for first-time flyers you should always take suggested times online with a pinch of salt.
You must absolutely keep track of the gate of your plane at every possible opportunity. Even if you know that you are at the correct gate before you sit down, go and check again – there are often last minute changes to gates, and so you could find that in a large airport you can’t get to the new gate in time. Try downloading any of the wide range of apps that are available from airlines, which will SMS you when there is a gate change for your flight. This really is one of the mistakes that make you miss a flight that you can avoid very easily, just by staying in the loop.
We all know that you should avoid flying on Christmas Eve or around Thanksgiving, but you might not consider Mother’s Day to be such a major issue. Statistics show that one of the worst mistakes that make you miss a flight is not taking smaller holidays into account when booking plane tickets. Avoid the third week of June, and don’t fly any of the days before Mother’s Day, unless you are willing to spend many more hours waiting around at the airport.
Everything from the weather to bus timetables can lead to you not arriving at the airport early enough, and thus missing your flight. Check whether snow or rain are given for the day you are flying, and similarly make sure that you check bus timetables very carefully so that you know which bus to get to the airport. A good rule of thumb is to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight for domestic travelling, or three or more hours for international flights. It’s not always a great experience having to wait around for a plane, but it’s better than having to miss your flight!
Security checks can be a real pain in the butt since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. While we all value airline security, TSA agents are often responsible for people missing flights because they forgot to think about the time that security checks take. If you have a connection, you may need to go back through security, so make sure that you have factored this into the time that you have set aside between flights. Don’t fall foul of one of the easily avoidable reasons you miss a plane.
Whether you simply leave your passport at home, or you find that your passport has expired, you just cannot fly. However it’s more complex than that: you need to make sure that your passport has enough time left before it expires for that country to let you board the airplane. For example, many European countries require your passport to be valid for at least three months from the date that you enter the country – anything less and you will be declined entry. If you want to make sure that you never miss a flight, check on the state department website to make sure your passport is valid.
While not necessarily always your fault, a mistake that can lead to missing a flight is not checking in online. You may find that you simply don’t have enough time to check-in at the airport, and so may not be permitted to board the plane. Airports are very particular about these rules, so if you haven’t used the online check-in service, especially for international flights, you might miss your flight.
As much as we don’t want to be so cautious, the very best way to avoid mistakes that make you miss a flight is to allow way more time than is recommended. Arrive at the airport well in advance (except for connections which you can’t control) and enjoy the spare time browsing the shops, firing up your Kindle or laptop or catching a few Zs. Have you ever missed a flight?
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