Do Airlines Owe Compensation For Missed Connections?

Missed Flight

Yesterday morning, Kim and I had a very, very long day traveling to Puerto Vallarta for the family press trip that we are participating in.

What should’ve been a simple couple of flights ended up being one of our crappier travel days in a very long time.

So what happened?

We had a flight with Aeromexico from JFK To Mexico City and would then be connecting in Mexico on a flight to Puerto Vallarta.

Here was our original itinerary:

  • JFK – MEX: Leave at 10:00 AM, arriving at 1:50
  • MEX – PVR: Leave at 3:35 PM arriving at 5:15

We woke up before 6:00 and drove to the Air Train by JFK. We boarded our first flight and then heard a horrible message. The plane wouldn’t  be moving for at least a half hour. When we finally got going, the pilot let us know that we were 15th in line! By the time all was said and done , we sat on the plane almost an hour and a half before finally taking off. (Add in some pretty uncomfortable slimline seats- not good…)

Once we arrived in Mexico City we had a tight connection for our next flight.

We mentioned this to a couple of Aeromexico’s staff and they told us that we had plenty of time to make the flight. The customs employees told us the same thing so all we could do was wait for our turn on the massive (and slow-moving) line.

After waiting around 30-40 minutes, we were done at customs. Now we had to collect our bag and then get over to the gate.

We got our bag right away and then, for the first time an Aeromexico showed a sense of urgency… She walked us to the baggage scanner area and Kim pushed the button and with our luck, it lit up- our bag had to be checked by security. This wasted another few minutes…

Over by the scanner an Aeromexico employee told us that the flight was about to take off. He got on his walkie-talkie and said that we missed the flight. In reality we had like 15+ minutes until the plane was supposed to actually leave so I don’t get why we were told this.

Our 3:35 flight, arriving at 5:15 now became a painful wait for the net one at 7:05…

I asked about compensation and was told that the problem was due to the airport not the airline. Is this true? I wasn’t convinced. I mentioned that if the airline would’ve rushed us to the front of the customs line, we could’ve definitely made the flight. I also asked why we were told multiple that we would make it and not to worry.

He said we could go to customer service and see what they said.

I spoke to two different supervisors. The first one thought we might qualify for a meal voucher or something along those lines but said we had to go to another desk.

At the next desk, the rep looked up our flight and said the delay was caused due to JFK airport not the airline.  I then brought up the lack of a sense of urgency to get us through customs to make the flight. I got more or less no response and also no compensation.

We found out later on from a woman on our JFK-MEX flight that she got to the gate at 3:15 for the 3:35 departure time. She was told that the doors were closed and the plane had left. Could tit be possible that it left 20 minutes early?

My first thought was that the flight was probably oversold and rather than rush us to the plane, they just gave our seats away.

What do you think- should Aeromexico have offered us some form of compensation or was the missed flight connection really not their fault?

5 thoughts on “Do Airlines Owe Compensation For Missed Connections?

  1. Ironically we missed our connection to PDX with Delta yesterday at JFK from STI due to IRROP AND our pilot almost landing on top of a plane that was taking off( to the point i could see the pilot face in the other plane for a split second before we took a hard left bank). We got sent all around terminal 4 trying to get a rebook thenthey said it was because JFK had only 1 runway open so we would be stuck for 24 hrs till we could get 2 seats together that weren’t in the last row of the plane.. (and we have status with them!) They gave us nothing else until i found a red coat and she called operations to confirm it was IRROP and not JFK. In the end we got a hotel room for the night on delta…we had to burn 8 hrs of pto each and lost out delta comfort + seats

  2. Dan- I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of travel insurance covering food for a missed connection. Have you?

    Derick- Crazy story. Hope you made it to PDX and are having a good time!

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