When travelling you always have to be ready for anything and know what to do in case of a problem. One such instance is when you miss your flight; the consequences can be significant initially and possibly affect the rest of your trip. So here’s a bit of advice for anyone who may at any point miss a flight on vacation in the USA.
It is evident that anytime someone misses their flight, whether due to being late for a flight, traffic problems or a delayed connecting flight, the actions following this event will be different and the circumstances depend on each case. However, the first thing to do is warn the company you’re flying with. If you’re clear and polite in communicating the problem with the flight company in US, it’s possible they will allow you to join a later flight, particularly if the delay is not your fault and the reason you’re late for your flight is beyond your control, such as a train delay etc.
By letting the airline know your situation, you are giving them the chance to be able to fill your seat on the scheduled flight with someone who is looking to fly on the day or another delayed passenger perhaps. They may then be more inclined to help you by finding you another flight.
You could ask yourself what happens if I miss my flight because of a delay? If you become the victim of an untimely event such as a national train delay or accident on the track, remember to collect evidence of the event in order to accredit your claim. These documents for a delayed flight could be in the form of photographs, receipts from the company, an audio recording or a formal police report.
If your flight has been canceled or delayed, it is also the company who should take care of you. The company in charge of your flight is obliged to find you suitable accommodation close to the airport, to cover the expenses of meals and to find you a new seat on a different flight whether it be with that same company or not.
In other cases, you may also ask yourself what happens to my luggage if I miss my connecting flight? If it was checked in at the start of the trip, the luggage should arrive at your destination before you and will be stored to await your arrival. If at any point you wish to make sure, you can call the airline and explain to them your problem with the missing layover flight to ensure where to find your bags when you arrive at your destination.
There is also the possibility of additional charges which you can be refunded due to missed or canceled flights. Remember therefore to document your time and expenses during the missed or canceled flight by keeping all papers, announcements, messages and take photos of any extra information to provide evidence of your presence and the cancellation or delay to later use in your request for a refund. Subsequent claims are sometimes long and complex and usually require all kinds of proof which is why it is vital to keep all receipts, tickets and communications from the airlines.
In general there will be few consequences if any for your ESTA for the USA because of a missed flight. Even if it mentions the date of arrival on American soil, it will not be affected as the ESTA is a multiple-entry visa and you can return at any point within 2 years. On the other hand, you must be vigilant in cases where you have reached the maximum total duration of 90 days. For example if you miss an outward-bound flight and you have to stay on American soil for extra days, you could run the risk of overstaying the stipulated 90 days.
Nevertheless if you show your original ticket to the border officials and you explain the situation (calmly and politely) there should be no problem and you should be allowed to continue your journey unhindered. This is valid for both a transit visa through the USA or for a US tourist visa. Custom officials are generally kind and accommodating and understand the various problems travelers come up against such as a missed flight or lost or stolen passport.