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An Expensive Mistake: How I Overslept and Missed My Flight

It’s been quiet around the blog this week because I’ve been traveling. I’m becoming a pretty seasoned business traveler. I rarely check my bags, I know how to get free first class upgrades, and I have no sympathy for you if you don’t have your belt, shoes, laptop, and plastic baggie of liquids in your hand before you get to the metal detectors. But last week I made an embarrassing – and expensive – mistake: I overslept and missed my flight.

Nearly missing flights is nothing new for me. I hate waiting in airports (and in idle aircraft), and I like living on the edge.

I have, many times, walked onto an aircraft and had the flight attendants shut the door behind me instantly.

Now that’s close.

But last week I wasn’t even close.

I had a 6:00 a.m. flight out of Boston. To make 6:00 a.m. flights, which I take often, I am usually up by 4:00, on the road by 4:15, at the airport at 5:00, and at the gate by 5:30.

Last week, I woke up at 6:30!

I could give you the malfunctioning alarm clock excuse, which is partially true (I set two; one broke and I didn’t hear the other), but at the end of the day, I was to blame. I overslept, and I missed my flight.

And I knew it as soon as I woke up.

That, by the way, was a surreal experience. I imagine oversleeping before a flight as chaotic, and usually, it is: I awake with barely enough time to make the airport, so I rush, I speed, and I sweat, possibly all in vain. But when I woke up and the plane had already left, it felt like I was guilty of a crime, but was already caught, so I mind as well go back to sleep.

Despite that feeling, I couldn’t go back to sleep, because I needed to be in Indianapolis by noon. Ha!

I wasn’t really thinking straight, so I just hopped in the shower, grabbed my suitcase, and headed for the airport, albeit in rush-hour traffic. As soon as I was on the road, I was on the phone with Delta’s SkyMiles Elite line to discuss my options. The nice thing about being an elite traveler, at least with Delta, is that I have an 800 number that goes to a real person, in America, more-or-less instantly. Aside from that, however, they don’t do much differently than any airline ticket agent. When I talked with Delta, my fears were confirmed.

Discount coach tickets (the kind you and I buy about 99% of the time), are non-refundable, meaning if you decide not to travel, or miss your flight out of your own fault (I couldn’t find away to pin my alarm clock woes on Delta), you lose the ticket. Period.

Now, these nonrefundable tickets can be changed in ahead of time for a $50 fee, plus the difference in ticket price. Not cheap, but better than loosing one ticket and buying an entirely new one. But these changed reservations need to be done in advance. So if you miss your flight, they need to be done at least before the plane has taken off – even if you aren’t on it.

Then, I understand, especially if you are at the airport, the airline may treat missing your flight as any reschedule, and can get you on the next flight for those change fees.

But for me, calling up, after the flight had taken off, I was out of luck. My ticket was gone. If I had a “full-fare” ticket, had I missed my flight, I would retain the value of the ticket, and could just apply it, in full, to any future flight.

So now that I found myself out of about $240 (the one-way cost of the round-trip ticket), I still needed to get to Indy that day, no matter what. This was also during the days of the American MD-80 inspections, so with hundreds of American flights grounded, every airline’s planes were packed.

As I was dialing in the airlines, I was also punching Indianapolis into my GPS. I had made the 13-hour drive with my family dozens of times to visit my grandmother as a kid, I could do it again if needed.

Delta had nothing. Continental had nothing. She I checked Northwest, and they had a flight at 3. I passed, and I called U.S. Airways, whom I knew had a direct flight form Boston to Indy. Success! There was a seat on the 9:30 flight. But at what cost?

$691.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

I don’t care if that’s out-of-pocket or out of an expense account, or who’s paying for it, that’s one expensive mistake.

Another tidbit I learned through this whole debacle: is to let your airline know immediately that you want to keep that return ticket! Assuming you don’t rebook your outbound leg on your original airline, they will cancel your return itinerary, also at your expense.

Have you ever missed a flight because you overslept, or something else that was your fault? What happened?

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. Ouch! Its been my worst nightmare for a while — sleeping through an early morning flight. Glad to hear you made it eventually.

    I have actually overslept a flight once, and lived to tell the tale — on American Airlines they’ve been fairly accommodating to me (I do have AAdvantage elite status, though). Officially, if you let them know before a flight takes off that you can’t make it but still intend to fly, they will let you standby for later flights same-day for no charge. Unofficially, if you call within two hours after a flight they’ll still let you standby for free, but more than two hours after a flight takes off, and the reservation is voided. Granted, there has to be room on those later flights, but its quite a flexible system.

  2. Delta had no help for me. I am not sure if I pick that airline company next time. I just missed my flight today, even though I had two clocks set. None of them came on… I woke up before the departure time and there was no way I could get to the airport on time.So, I called Delta to let them know about my situation and possibly re-schedule with a minor loss. I also asked them what if I drive to JFK to catch my second airplane to go overseas to complete my trip. I was told that just because I missed my first one, all my scheduled flights would be cancelled anyways. I was shocked to hear that. Can’t you just make a mistake once!!! They offerred me to re-schedule with a price difference plus penalty charges so that I wouldn’t lose my money. But, what they told me was way more than what paid at the first place. That was a big Ouch for me to digest. I was mad at myself to make the most expensive mistake of my life, and also to Delta that they had no mercy over an honest mistake. Anyways, I just bought those expensive tickets and on my way to go to my vacation…

  3. I missed a flight with Delta today because I forgot my wallet and had to go back home to get it. I still thought I could make it back in time, but I didn’t because I got stuck in traffic (an event nearby had just let out). By the time I got to the counter it was an hour after takeoff. I didn’t mention the wallet thing and only told them about the traffic and they put me on the next flight for a $50 fee. I’m really glad now that I didn’t mention the wallet because that would have been admitting it was my own fault and they might not have been so nice. I checked the new ticket # and the return flight is still confirmed.

  4. Today, I missed my flight and this was thge worst day of my life. I am a 21-year-old student from Germany. I decided to spend my Christmas and New Year in Dubai. Today I had a flight at 7:40 AM. I woke up at 5:30. I took a shower and everything was easy. I calculated the time and I thought there still was time to spare. So I left my home at around 6:20AM, my friend brought me to the airport. Walking slowly and easy to the check-in for Turkish Airlines I was wondering where the queue is. I looked at the monitors and my flight was blinking red (CLOSING) – so I rushed and the lady on the check in “Sorry Sir, Check-In is closed” I was in the check in at around 6:40 – one hour prior departure. I begged her. I had another flight to catch and the train I have booked in Germany from Frankfurt to Bremen (4 hours) which also was confirmed already. Not to meantion that I am a simple student – meaning not having thousands of Dollars on my account.

    I felt some tingling in my belly and legs. Strated to feel dizzy. Not knowing what to do – looking at the lady at the Check-In, seeing her shaking er head. Impossible to get on thatplane, even I stil had 1 hour (!!) to get to the gates.

    So I went back out of the Check-In area, called my friend back, who already left for work. I went to the Travel Service Counter, they told me I need to go to the Turkish Airlines Sales Centre in Dubai, which is far away – I knew I was screwed.

    I called Turkish Airlines offices in Turkey, 20 Min talk. With international mobile phone. (Looking forward to the bill)
    They said no more seats at all everything overbooked. Next flights are next week. OH MY GOD!! The feeling you feel at this moment is the worst you can ever have – I wish nobody of you guys reading this here will ever have the same experience or feeling – ever.

    Rebooking was not possible. Only Business Class the next morning where available $400 plus charges plus fees plus taxes.

    In the end you really don’t mind anymore, because you just want to get home anyhow! They found a flight from Dubai – Istanbul – Hamburg with 10h stop over in Istanbul.

    Train ticket in Germany is gone, lost $100 plus my flight ticket.
    I am so screwed – so bankrupt for this month – I am so dead.

    Year 2009 can’t begin worse than this for me.
    From now on I will be always 2 hours minimum at the airport before departure.

    Thanks to my friend, who came late to work and had so much patience with me – I’d me more than screwed if not him.

    God Bless You Guys – Learn From The Mistakes Of Others.

  5. I always have an issue where my flight has been overbooked and I get bumped. Sometimes you get some type of monetary compensation but that is not why I booked the flight. I booked the flight to get somewhere at a certain time, Time is money you know. Airlines say they overbook flights to cover losses incurred when travelers don’t show for the flight, I call this DOUBLE DIPPING. I have missed a few flights in my time and have never gotten a refund and in most cases the ticket is now void and not worth credit on a dfferent flight it is just recycle material now. What the Airlines do is sell to many seats on a flight and then hope for no shows so that they can resell the seat at even higher price paid by you. This sounds to me like some sort of criminal offense but sense all of our Governments collect huge taxes on air travel they have no incentive to stop this unfair practrice. When will We be treated as I’m sure the top execs at these airlines EXPECT to be treated in their day to day lives? First step I guess is to get rich!!!!!!!!! I need to find a scam like the Airlines, LEGAL??????

  6. My husband and I were on our honeymoon and we had missed our flight due to communication error from our hotel on how to get to the airport at 6am. We are flying out of Rome trying to get to the USA and we missed our flight. We were flying Northworst KLM and they said they could reschedule us 4 days later. We had jobs to get to so, after freaking out. We ended up have to buy new tickets in EUROs. It was about $2,700 that we had to pay to get home. NOW that was expensive. I can’t believe airlines can’t work together to get someone home. It is very ridiculous! And there was nothing we could do about it. We couldn’t get our money back from the airlines, we couldn’t get anything out of the hotel for telling us wrong information. Never fly international on Northwest!

  7. I missed mine today, and I am just feeling awful. And when I feel awful, I usually Google away my sorrows..

    This morning I had a flight at 8:30am, but I am currently in Beijing, and the transportation time to get to the airport from where I live (bus, then shuttle bus) is about an hour and a half, which meant that I had to be on the road by 5:30am to get to the airport in time for my flight (I play it safe).

    However, last night I ended up packing last minute, and made it to bed at 3am. I set my alarm and even considered staying up because I didn’t want to miss the alarm, but I figured some sleep was better than none. This morning I awoke to sunshine, and immediately my stomach dropped. There is no sun at 5 in the morning! I looked at my phone, which read 7:20ish. I immediately woke up, started running around frantically, called the airline while brushing my teeth…It was like realizing one of my nightmares. I know exactly what you mean. That panic you get when you miss class or the last bus in your dreams is totally real when it happens in full consciousness.

    My alarm rang at 7:24am. I don’t know if I should be mad at my phone or glad that it wasn’t my fault. Either way, I’m still extremely disappointed in my myself. AND my phone. I have no idea why it decided to ring 2 hours and 24 minutes later than its set time, when it usually rings at the time I need it to.

    But long story short, I ended up changing my flight. It only cost me about $15 USD to book the flight tonight at 8:55pm. The only thing I’m mad about is that my trip was only Thurs-Mon, and now it’s basically Fri-Mon, so I won’t be able to enjoy it for as long. My flight back is at 7:30am, so I guess I won’t be sleeping that night. :)

  8. We missed our flight to Lima today at 6am from Delta/Northwest. The people at the ticket office offered us no alternatives, and shuffled us back and forth between the Delta and the Northwest counters, both saying the other had to help us with this or that detail. Then we had to call a phone number so we couldn’t even talk face to face with a person. We ended up with no other options but to buy new tickets for $1500 each. That included a change fee of $250 – which of course makes no sense, because I could have bought a brand new ticket from them online for $1200 for the next day. We considered forfeiting the ticket and simply buying new ones from another airline at $700.

    Then we called Orbitz who (thank god) we had bought our tickets from. The agent was on the phone being shuffled between Delta and Northwest for almost an hour. Apparently neither would take responsibility and she had difficulty locating the ticket numbers and exchanging our tickets. Eventually she took care of it and changed it to the next day for no charge! Thank you Orbitz.

    My advice is NEVER fly with Delta/NW. If you must, then at least wait a year until they are merged so you don’t get stuck in the middle like we did.

  9. Missing a flight with Delta can be a costly proposition, but here is any alley I took that only cost me $50 to get on a different flight.

    I called Delta and explained to them I was not on my morning flight and that I would like to take a later flight. LUCKILY I had a decent person helping me on the customer service line and he explained to me the concept of Same-Day Confirmed Travel. See: http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/ticket_changes_refunds/sameday_travel_changes/index.jsp

    What you do is call Delta 3 hours before a scheduled flight you would like to be on and say “I would like to do Same-Day Confirmation for ‘X’ flight.” Hopefully they will not that you have already purchased a ticket, but would like to take advantage of the $50 Same-Day Travel change as apposed to purchasing an entirely new ticket. If there are seats available on that flight it would only cost you $50 to get a confirmed seat on that flight.

    The risk to this is if all the flights are booked on your scheduled day of travel then this alternative will not work.

    Overall, I was pretty satisfied that this opportunity existed. It even allowed me to get better flight times cheaper than I could have secured through booking online.

    • JH
      Did you cancel your flight at all or just miss it?
      Did they charge you for not making your flight? Just the $50?

      Thanks!

  10. United lets you go standby at no extra charge until you can get out.

  11. I did not sleep over the time,but I was not able to make the trip. It turned out US airway asked for 150 dollars for the change or cancellation. And of course I need to pay for the difference too.

    Like you mentioned, I was willing to buy a new one way tickets and use the returning flight of the original reservation. It’s impossible, the airline company will cancel your reservation if you don’t show up at the airport to checkin on time.

    So after that, I always pay more money for a ticket scheduled at a best time for me in a day, let’s say 1:00pm…

  12. My wife booked a round trip ticket on Delta from DC to Boston for 247.00. Her father became severly ill and she had to fly up a day early (one way ticket) for 675.00

    I called Delta to make sure she could still use her return ticket. No such luck. She would have to rebook for %550.00, less the 150.00 cancellation fee – THANKS, DELTA!! :(

    What a racket. My wife who did board from DC to Boston lost out on that part of the trip. I’m sure that DELTA charged a premium to the peron who flew standby to purchase my wife’s seat. Then wanting another $550 for the return.

    Instead, I got a one-way fare for her on Untied fro Boston to DC for 183.00

    What a scam.

  13. Tanya F says:

    Just had a terrible conversation with US Airways.

    My husband and I cancelled a flight back in August 2009 a couple weeks in advance of our flight. We were issued a $239.40 credit on both the tickets. My mentor is dying of cancer, so I decided to fly last minute to go see him (he just stopped taking his medication and is declining fast). I called to use the credit and was told it would be a $150 change fee per ticket. She said she would *gladly* issue my credit (do the math with me):

    $239.40/2=$119.20 credit per ticket credit. I want to purchase one new ticket. ($150.00 change fee) – ($119.20 credit) = It will COST ME an additional $30.80 to use my credit ($180.80 total)! Or, I can just book a whole new ticket and save myself $30, and lose the entire “credit”. Ridiculous x2 because both “credits” are useless.

    This is *Double Dipping*, (as mentioned previously by Steven) as we canceled this flight way ahead of time and I am sure they re-sold the seats. Any flight under $150 that gets canceled for “credit” means they just earned themselves a tidy little profit because no one is going to pay additional $$$ to use a credit!!! Why bother even issuing it then? And clearly do not use the term “credit”.

    It is time for the government to get involved to stop airlines from ripping off customers, especially now that everything is done electronically and on-line. No one yet has been able to explain to me why it costs $150 to rebook a ticket when I do everything myself (book, cancel, rebook). Does anyone know why???

    Fly Southwest. They will credit you with no ridiculous rebooking fees. Credit really means credit with them.

    • Tanya F says:

      Almost had another flight disaster but was saved because of comments on this website. My husband had to rebook his flight out to our family reunion due to a medical emergency (he is a doctor, so even though it is a medical emergency, it doesn’t count for him..sigh). He originally wanted to rebook his outgoing flight with the same airline, but he would have had an overnight layover, so he just canceled his outgoing flight and booked a single leg on a different airline. When we were returning, we tried to do advanced check-in. My kids and I were all confirmed, but he couldn’t pull his up. Unconcerned, he decided to wait until he got to the airport to print out a boarding pass.

      Because I remembered others here mentioning that the airlines sometimes cancel your return flight automatically if you cancel your outgoing flight, I had him call the airlines. Sure enough, even though he had only canceled the outgoing flight, they ended up canceling the entire trip! Thankfully he was able to rebook, but naturally at the higher rate (an extra $300!), even though it was the airlines fault! The next morning, the flight was completely full. At least he was able to come home.

  14. Caitlin says:

    I missed the last leg of a long itinerary with Continental, booked through Orbitz. I missed the flight out of an east coast airport because I just didn’t hear the announcement, even though I was sitting in the waiting area. I had been facing away from the gate and wasn’t proactive in finding out why things seemed to be taking longer than usual. Five minutes after take-off, I had to tell this to the guy at the gate. Our conversation was as follows:

    “When does the plane depart, sir?”
    “It’s departed.”
    “I didn’t hear the announcement.” “Well, everyone else did!”
    “… I didn’t hear it.”
    Then he handed me a confirmed boarding pass for a flight in the afternoon and told me the times of a couple of flights for which I could wait on standby before that one left.

    The mistake was absolutely my own, but there was no mention of an extra fee or needing to buy a new ticket. Now, having read your comments, I think I must have been incredibly lucky. I don’t know if it’s airline policy or if the staff were just in a good mood, but either way, Continental earned major points that day…

  15. Your stories all ring too true to me. I have traveled for business a handful of times and never had any issues getting to the airport on time and catching my flight.

    This past Memorial Day I was scheduled for a 6:30AM flight out of Portland, ME to get me to Colorado Sprigs via Chicago.

    I woke up at 6:30. $252 later I had my new fight and made it to the Springs after a bit of a delay because of thunderstorms n Chicago.

    One would think this was a fluky thing and wouldn’t happen again. Well, my poor judgment caused a repeat performance on my trip home.

    I was scheduled to take the red-eye back to Portland this morning at 12:50AM.

    The guy I was hanging out with told me I could make it to the Denver International Airport in 20 minutes. I shouldn’t have listened to him.

    I pulled into the rental car return at 12:15 and didn’t get to the ticket counter until 12:40 and no one was there.

    I missed my flight home and for $505 I was able to rebook.

    My stupid mistakes cost me $750. One would think I would have learned. Let’s just hope I don’t make this mistake again.

    Happy flying!

  16. Yeah even I had once missed my flight coz I overslept. It was the end of the semester when I was in College everyone was going back home and even I had booked my tickets. Then the night before when I had my flight we had a party in the dorms. I had a flight at 8 am in the morning and our party went on till 4 am then I realized there is no point to sleep so I was talking to a friend on phone and guess what?? I slept while talking and when I woke up it was already 11 am. Yes I had missed my flight not only that but two of my other friends had missed the flight as well. Oh man I shall never forget that day :)

  17. After a rough roller-coaster ride, ultimately I have a good word to put in for Continental.

    Today, I missed my flight, due to my poor planning in scheduling my ride to the airport. By the time I got to the airport, my international flight, which cost me over $1300, had already left the gate.

    As such, Continental staff gladly tried to sell me a walk-in ticket for the next day (an additional $2250 plus $250 flight change fee since I got non-refundable tickets). As a college student who bought the ticket using almost all my part time job salary, I simply couldn’t afford it. I called representative after representative in a desperate bid to salvage anything from my missed flight and potentially dead vacation, by refunding the return trip tickets, booking one way with other airlines, etc.

    Along the way, I discovered a few strange bits: my itinerary had mysteriously been changed and confirmed to include a later flight, though tickets not yet officially issued. After the 4th call, I must have gotten lucky — the representative listened to my story and her supervisor approved an exception in my case!

    My flight is now scheduled to leave tomorrow, at no additional charge. Hats off to the nameless benefactor who listed me on the next flight, and also to customer service as well as the supervisor who approved the exception. Even if this was all luck, I think I need to send a satisfaction letter to them, if anything for showing humanity in the steel-cold world of airlines.

  18. This morning I suffered an allergic reaction in which my eyes swelled shut and it was not safe to drive, so I missed my delta flight. I called right away to explain the situation and a very nice person agreed to let me on the red eye tonight with only a 50$ fee. Apparently the price difference was huge… the ticket was 1000 dollars! So I saved a ton of money. However, they asked for the name of my doctor and a phone number. Will they actually call to check up on me? I called in to the doctors office but never actually went in because some benadryl did the trick. So if they call to confirm my “medical emergency” I am worried that I will not be backed up! And then I will be charged 1000$!! What should I do? Help!

  19. Nathan Bush says:

    Man, oh man, after reading all of these comments, I am feeling like I’m getting off easy!

    I am in Nashville, Tennessee right now as I’m typing this, and I was in the airport pretty much since 1:30PM CST, and my flight leaves at 8:20 (don’t ask why I arrived so early…), so I am hanging at the Starbucks in Terminal C, and my flight is in A, so I left Terminal C at 8PM and got to my gate at 8:12…the plane was leaving the gate!!!! I’m like, #@*$&@#*#@*@)#*$(@)#&$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The ladies at the counter were sympathetic but there was no way they could stop the departure.

    Thankfully, they rescheduled my flight for 9AM the next morning….at no charge whatsoever…by the way, my airline is Midwest Airlines based out of Milwaukee. I am sooooo glad they did that, because I thought I was screwed like a screwdriver, and I didn’t have ANY money for a hotel room, and the Hilton properties doesn’t offer the employee discount on such short notice.

    So right now, I’m enjoying an iced mocha on my laptop in the Starbucks waiting area of the Nashville International Airport, where I will spend the night. I got my laptop with tethered internet through my HTC EVO 4G, my box set of Daria and a comfortable chair for the evening, with my phone’s alarm clock set for 7, 7:30 and 8am, so it could be worse (I could be having to hang outside in the humid weather….).

    So again, I am mad at myself for missing my flight, but I knew it would happen someday, and I got off easy compared to most people, so I don’t think I’ll complain as much. It will cost me a personal day at work, but again, there’s nothing I can do since I am scheduled to work 8am-5pm and won’t get back to Iowa until 4:30pm ish Wednesday.

    Thanks for listening to my rant.

    Nathan

  20. Been there, missed that.

    Arrived an hour early to my domestic BWI (Baltimore) to JFK (Atlanta) flight – which is unheard of. The weather delayed my flight by about 45 extra minutes. I figured it was time to drink a beer with a few friends from the same music concert we all went to, and while they were leaving to make sure to catch their 6 pm flights, I was sure that I wouldn’t miss my boarding time at 5:45 pm. I just sat there and didn’t hear my name being called (if it was called), walked back to the boarding area, finally found a wall plug to charge my iPhone and listen to music, and half an hour later, it dawned on me that it’s 6:15 pm and the flight is about to leave!

    It escaped me that the Boarding time is not the same as the Flight time – I didn’t hear or pay attention to anything around me. Then in a leisurely manner I asked the boarding lady, “Is this where I board? am I early?” and she says, “you are 6 minutes past the last boarding call – we even called your name!”

    I could barely hold back tears, but had to save face. I tried to get on the plane, but couldn’t. It was pushing night time and I had to work the next morning at 5 am. She said, “I can book you on the next flight at no charge” – Done. An hour later, I made sure to be one of the first to board, and although I arrived too late to catch the Metro home, I did get a ride home just fine.

    So, I flew Delta, didn’t pay a fee for not paying attention to time, sounds, and the boarding area. I blame it on the mere fact that my boarding area was missing an outlet plug that actually worked.. ;P

  21. I know how it feels now to miss a flight. My almost six months of vacation in the Philippines is finally over and had packed all my stuffs, ready to return to Canada. The flight’s departure time was 12:30AM of May 30, 2011. Here’s how the story goes, on the 29th of May at around 10:30PM I was busy lying on the couch watching TV. It just popped in my mind to re-check the details of my flight. It dawned on me that there’s only two hours away till next day which was my flight. I should have been in the airport by that time already because the time allowance before boarding that they require is at least 4 hours. I was really lost during that night. My mind isn’t working. My dad cannot drop me off because he does not drive to far places. What we did was we hurriedly called our neighbor on the phone and asked if he can drive us to the airport. Good enough he did not hesitate at all and was very willing to help us. We are full hope that we’re going to make it and be at the airport at least by 12 o’clock. I know that it seemed impossible to catch the flight with so little time left. We traveled so fast that we reached the airport by 11:45PM. Another unfortunate incident happened because I went to the wrong terminal and that consumed my time. By the time I got to the check-in counter, it was already closed and no airline personnel was on sight. I was devastated at that point. That’s that worst moment ever. I went to the airline’s office and asked the agent if there’s any way she can do to book me for another flight. She said the earliest possible date she can put me in is on July 28 and I’ll just have to pay CAD$ 100. But that’s another problem because I need to be back before July 12. We went home that night disappointed but I told myself there’s still tomorrow to put everything in order. Anyway it was my fault. There’s nothing much I can do. This is one big lesson learned for me when travelling.

  22. This might sound unbelieveable to most but it is absolutely true!
    I had purchased a non-refundable, round trip ticket flying coach with Air-Tran.
    I was flying from Orlando Fl. to Detroit Metro Airport. I was scheduled to leave on what I thoughwas December 20th 2010. I travel with Air-Tran 3 or 4 times a year. I usually use my travel rewards from flying as well as from a credit card to up-grade to First Class which also lets me check two bags for free! This ticket was no different, I had upgraded my ticket so that I could fly first class!

    I had gotten busy and did not check-in like I normally would have, I got to the ticket counter and could not seem to get myself checked in! With some help from an
    Air-tran ticket agent it was brought to my attention that I was 24 hours late; I was suppose to have traveled the previous day! Upon finding this out I am sure there must have been tears in my eyes as I was looking forward to spending Christmas with my 3 children; two of which I had not seen in about 3 years. I explained nothing as I watched the agent work after asking her “WHAT NOW?

    In a few short minutes I had a stand by ticket in my hand and was on the way to the gate where I should have been the previous day without a charge of any kind!
    I tend to think because I do deal with Air-Tran when I travel that this made the difference but then again; who knows!!! I will tell you that I thanked My Heavenly Father for taking such good care for me and asked My Heavely Father that he take care of my ticket agent as well as he had me!

  23. william says:

    Wanted to share I fly with Delta all the time, I call when there is a problem and they work things out. My flight was on time to leave but I was no. So I called Delta and did not have to pay anything for same day confirmed. If I did not carry medallion status it would have cost me $50.

  24. Two days ago I missed my connection flight to Prague from London Heathrow via Milan Malpensa on Lufthansa Italia – all because I forgot to change my watch! (Milan is one hour ahead of London during Summer).

    To make it worst, the flight from London arrived 20 minutes late into Milan (I was supposed to have 50 minutes transit, but because of this only had 30 minutes – gates close 10 minutes before departure so really I only had 20 minutes.)

    But because I was following British Summer time, I thought I was 1.5 hours early. Spent sometime in the duty free testing perfumes.

    Got to the gate, thought it was a bit odd that no one was queuing but I saw by the window there was a plane. Then I asked a staff who was watching the plane by the window – Is this for Prague? And she said – Yes. I went: Is it not open yet? She just stared at me, it’s closed, finished boarding. You are MR XXXXX. That moment I knew I have officially screwed myself.

    (I was with a friend). Whole holiday costed us about £1000!

    So went to collect our bags (took 40 minutes!). Then headed off to the Lufthansa office, not helpful at all. I was on one of those non-refundable tickets. But what’s worst is that they can’t even put me on another flight (I was willing to pay a fee etc). The woman said, even if we put you on another flight your return tickets are now cancelled, you can try to reinstate them in Prague for a fee but I cannot guarantee this.

    Well, HOW THE HELL would she expect me to fly to Prague with uncertainty of my return tickets’ validity. So my friend and I just sat down, took my laptop out searched for options, flights available if we were to risk it and take another flight to Prague would cost us 500 euros! (ONE WAY), and this is without any guarantee we can use our return tickets booked on the original trip! Even if we can, probably have to pay for fees. Worst off if we can’t then gota buy a whole new ONE WAY Prague-London., which probably would cost us another 500-700 euros!.

    So we ended up just buying tickets back to London – on KLM via Amsterdam, costed us additional £365. We thought this would be a cheaper and safer option than if we continued to Prague.

    To add cherry on the icing, we changed our Czech currency (value equivalent to £600) at Milan airport into some Euros and back into Sterling. Guess how much we got back in the end? £365 and 30 Euros. We lost about £200, and it was in small print this was a ‘transaction charge’. So sly of the forex counter as they advertised 0% commission but really they charged transaction fee instead, and it was really on a small print. They make you sign a form as well – I only realised I got ‘scammed’ about 20 minutes after when I said ‘wait a minute the value of my Czech currency was about £600! how on earth did I get back only this much!’ So the money we got back £365 – covered for our flights back to London on KLM, and 30 euros we used to eat lunch.

    All in all, LOST our whole holidays altogether about £1600 for the both of us, didn’t incur anything extra as should we have gone for the holidays we would have spent that much anyway all in, but I’m gutted as that money was used on literally NOTHING (besides flying to Milan and Amsterdam!)

    Now we’re both broke in London, this holiday was planned 6 months ago. Meant so much to us, been looking forward to it almost everyday but we think that jinxed it or maybe it was for the good, who knows we would have got run over or something should we have gone to Prague.

    Oh well. Whatever the reason, we’ve learnt the lesson of our lives. ESPECIALLY when you travel between timezones with an hour or two difference be extracareful (esp when you’re travelling in the direction of ‘losing time’). The small difference of an hour or two sometimes can make it look ‘real’ that you don’t think anything is wrong.

    We have just got to save up again and probably go on another holiday in 4-6 months time. Probably not Prague in the next few years(definitely one day), got to get the trauma out of our heads first, maybe Barcelona.

    I don’t usually write comments but after reading all of the comments above, I felt a bit better as crap like this do happen.

    *We’re trying to claim insurance – most often insurance don’t really cover these but we’re just trying our luck as the first segment did indeed cause a delay, we would have 45 minutes if not, but since the flight was delayed by 20 mins this cut our time calling it a close anyway even if we did realise about time difference. Expedia(we booked it thru them) is trying to help us claim back taxes paid on the unused portions of our tickets (as only the tickets are not refundable, taxes are) – this amount to some £150. Our hotel nada, all gone, non refundable for no show regardless circumstances.

    Oh well. Thanks to all of you who wrote your experiences.

  25. I missed my flight this past weekend doing just that, not hearing the alarm clock (or turning it off while not yet conscious). I had a 7AM flight out of Boston Logan and woke up right as the plane was to take off.

    I immediately checked online for what to do. Then checked the Continental website and started to proceed to “change” my tickets to see a $75 charge per leg of the flight (2 legs to Austin). I figured, well they can make that change when I get there too, but I’ll have better options dealing with a person that a website.

    The next flight was at 10:30am, I got to the airport for 8:30am and pleaded my case….Not the one about the alarm clock, but the one about my tire blowing out and having to call a friend for a ride and that I just missed it.

    The gentleman behind the Continental counter said four words “You missed your flight”, as a statement not a question. I agreed, and he proceeded to type away, looked around as if he couldn’t do anything and found the last remaining seat on the 10:30 flight. Best part, he never asked for any payment information, handed me my two tickets (one was the layover) and said “have a nice day”. I was relieved at that point.

  26. hi i had two way tickets for 1500$ now that i wana cancel one way.how much they will pay me???

  27. I’ve never overslept for a flight, but did make a timing mistake that caused me to miss one.

    One was with Ryanair (mistake #1) while I was in college studying in London for a semester. I had booked a cheap ticket on Ryanair to fly to Belgium from Spain (stop #1 on the trip) to visit some friends. As I had been traveling in Spain for 2 days, I stupidly didn’t realize there was a 1 hour time difference between Spain and London. Totally my fault — I did ask someone in my defense if there was one, and they said no, but still I should have triple checked. I had spent 2 days on my own without a real schedule, so I just didn’t notice. Cue to me having TIME TO KILL (oh the irony) before the flight and talking to the person picking me up in Belgium who asked if I was at the airport already and clued me in on the time difference when I said “No not yet!”

    Cue to me paying an absurd amount of money to get a taxi driver to get me to the airport — I had a bus ticket but didn’t want to risk it with the local stops it was making and the fact it left 30 mins after. I get to the airport with about 45ish mins before departure — incredibly close but doable if it was a Delta counter. The airport was TINY — one of those little ones only airlines like Ryanair fly to — it had about 6 gates and I could see my gate from the ticket counter. No security line. Plane hadn’t even started boarded or arrived yet.

    Except Ryanair dedicates ticket counters by FLIGHT. You can’t just walk up to any ol counter and ask to be checked in. They close the checkin lanes an hour before takeoff, so no one would check me in. I went to about 5-8 different people asking– begging — for someone to please check me in. All refused and being sent to a different person. Meanwhile time ticks down — boarding stars and I even ironically hear my name being called. I go to the security counter asking if I can speak to the gate agent who paged me — nothing. I am frantic at this point as I’m in the airport watching my flight disappear.

    I end up missing the flight, out the money, and having to spend $500 on British Airways — at a different airport an hour away — to get my to Belgium. Fun times.

  28. Georgia Smith says:

    Know how you all feel, this just happened to me. I have it really lucky compared to you guys – mine is a short European flight from London to Malaga. The flight was this morning at 7.10, so I woke at 3.30 to catch a taxi to the bus stop, where I’d catch a bus to the airport (waaaay cheaper than a taxi the whole way).
    Everything was well and good, I checked in and sat around on my laptop. Completely my fault – I confused the boarding time and departure time, so at 6.30 started going through immigration. It may seem like enough time, half an hour – but if you’ve ever gone through a London airport you’ll know what I mean when I say it was awful! Huge queues, herded like cattle, and then had to wait for 15 minutes for my laptop to be checked because there was some sort of “unusual spot” on it. By the time I finally got free it was 7.02 and I ran to the gate, but to no avail :( The plane had literally left a minute before, the boarding lady said, and I’d missed it (she wasn’t too sympathetic either).
    I was travelling on Monarch, and the women at the desk were so helpful – offering to put me on the next flight for a £50 charge, where if I’d had to buy the ticket alone it would’ve cost me £350! (Difference £300 between my ticket and that one). But that one only got in at 9pm, plus I’d have to take an hour and a half bus ride, so I caved and bought an EasyJet ticket for £83 :)
    Still lovely though, those Monarch people!

  29. Happened to me today as well… I had a flight from Dublin to Krakow at 7am with AerLingus. My vacation this year, for 3 weeks. All packed and happy, my blackberry set for 4am alarm, I went to sleep. Woke up confused, as it seemed as if I slept too long.. got out of bed, clicked my blackberry and THEN it rang. Except that it was 7am, just as my flight was leaving.. I have NO CLUE why it did not ring during the night…

    Went to the airport, had a horrible time talking to the customer agent that basically told me he can’t do anything for me, I have to start from the scratch, told me to go to the competition and basically … you know. Didn’t even offer to listen to what I had to say. Aer Lingus wonderful customer service, avoid it at all costs. I bought a new tickets with EasyJet. Not too expensive, but that will be a night on Belfast airport in 2 days before I finally get to Krakow…

    That is a lesson right here: set 2 or 3 alarms.. don’t just rely on one.

  30. I over slept and missed a flight from Birmingham,AL to Orlando,Fl on Southwest. I arrived at the airport 10 minutes after the flight left, the agent was incredibly helpful and issued me a boarding pass for another flight. Instead of flying non stop to Orlando, I had to fly to Tampa, than to Ft. Lauderdale, and than to Orlando, however, I didn’t have to pay anything extra and the only thing was that I would arrive at 3:00 instead of 10:00am, so no big deal. I love southwest and only fly on them!

  31. LAN airline sucks.. Paid 700.00 dollars for a new ticket, because could not get to airport on time and their customer service phone line was so busy, that nobody would pick-up.

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