How Not to Miss a Connecting Airline Flight

April 11, 2010

I was stuck in the Milwaukee airport for most of a day because I missed a connecting flight.  I’m not a frequent flyer so I made a few mistakes that led to me missing my connection.

Here are a few tips I picked up that might help you when flying in the future.  They’re worth reading, I missed my connecting flight at 7:30 AM flight and the next one didn’t leave until 4 PM, check out the tips so you don’t get stuck in an airport all day.

Read the Fine Print

I bought a last minute plane ticket from CheapoAir and didn’t take the time to read all the fine print on my receipt.  The first leg of my flight was with Frontier airline and the second leg was on AirTran.  This meant I needed a separate boarding pass for the second flight, if I’d have read through all the information in my email I’d have realized that.

Check in Online Ahead of Time

One of the tips in the email was to check in for my flight online so I could print out my boarding pass and bring it along with me.  Of course the benefit to this is that you don’t have to stand in line and wait for your boarding pass, unless of course you have bags to check.  Which leads us to the next tip.

Carry on Your Luggage

If you can fit everything into two carry on pieces of luggage and you print out your boarding pass ahead of time then you won’t have to wait in line to check into your flight.  If you’re flying two different airlines, checking bags can eat up time between your connecting flights.

Get Your Boarding Passes for Entire Trip

The problem I had in Milwaukee was that I had to go back to ticketing to get my boarding pass for my AirTran flight, which meant I had to come back through security to get to the terminal.  I only had 40 minutes between flights and the security slowed me down just enough that I missed the connecting flight.

Even if you don’t check in ahead of time online, you can still get your boarding pass for all your flights from your original destination airport. If you’re flying the same airline all the way through they give them all to you when you check in.  But even if you’re changing airlines, you can still go to both airline counters at the first airport you fly out of and get your boarding passes for the whole trip.

Inspect Your Bags

I didn’t look through the bags I brought before packing my stuff and that contributed to me missing my flight.  Turns out I had a camera accessory at the bottom of my bag that the airline screeners thought looked suspicious.

They sent my bag through the x-ray machine two times then manually inspected it to figure out what they were seeing on the x-ray.  As they took everything out of my bag, valuable minutes ticked away and I ended up missing my flight.  So make sure you know what’s in your bag and that you’re not carrying anything verboten by the security rules.

If you do miss your connecting flight many times the airline will re-book you on the next flight out.  Of course the people that paid for seats on that flight get priority so many times you’ll have to fly stand-by.  But the earlier you fly in the day, the higher the chances there will be one or more flights later that day and the better your chances of getting on one of those flights. Happy flying!


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

All posts by


5 Responses to How Not to Miss a Connecting Airline Flight

  • Kazybek

    I mean in my case my air ticket consists of international and domestic destinations. So, can I check my luggage through to the final destination? Thanks.

  • Kazybek

    Could you please answer: If I check my luggage through to the final destination, I will not have to register it on every connecting airports? Thank you.

  • Ben

    JoAnn, I’m glad you found some useful tips. I hope your mom has a safe, and uneventful trip!

  • JoAnn

    Thank you for your article. As a matter of fact I was in the process of booking a flight for my mother from Las Vegas to Columbia SC which of course has a necessary connecting flight in Atlanta. Since my preference is to book direct flights, this was a first for me and of course I was quite nervous. Pictures of my 72 year old mom wandering the airport looking for her connecting flight and her luggage made my head spin! But thanks to your experiences and your article I was able to foresee any problems BEFORE they happened and made the necessary calls to the airline to find out their procedure for getting luggage to the connecting flight and how to pre-printed boarding passes for all flights. Thanks again


  • Shoppers Drug Mart, Clutter, Budgets and More | Million Dollar Journey