Q. My niece and nephew were flying from Dubuque to Atlanta via Chicago on American Airlines. Deboarding was delayed by about 15 minutes or so in Chicago, causing them to miss their connecting flight to Dubuque by only a few minutes. That flight to Dubuque was the last one of the day, so obviously this meant either stay overnight and fly out the next day (which was not an option due to work the next day) or rent a car and drive the 3 hours back to Dubuque .... which is what they chose to do.

So, my question is: really, American Airlines?! Could they not see via computer that my niece and nephew were recently landed and on their way? Personally, I've been on flight before where we have waited for other passengers who were making a connecting flight. Why is this situation
any different?

Is there anyway to get compensated for this? And if so, would they contact American or CheapOAir, the site where they purchased the tickets? Does purchasing tickets from a third party website make a difference in such situations?

A. Unfortunately, the only recourse in situations like this is to either file a complaint with the airline or see if there’s any insurance available. If their trip was paid with through some credit card issuers, it’s possible that the card has built-in travel insurance that would help out.

It’s precisely for this and other travel mishaps that a company called Aircare was recently launched. Had the two passengers paid $25 extra, they would have been paid $500 in this missed-connection scenario.

I have no idea why a last flight of the day from Chicago to Dubuque could not have waited a few extra minutes, even if it meant missing its take-off slot at O’Hare, which admittedly is a busy airport, but I see this sort of thing frequently and I assume that there are operational reasons for sticking to schedules. I wouldn’t bother contacting CheapOAir, but it might help to complain directly to the airline.

Above image via Shutterstock

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