Missed your flight? Here's what you need to do

This article first appeared on Skyscanner’s Missed your flight? Here's what you need to do

Crawling along the highway in heavy traffic as the clock steadily counts down to your flight departure, your heart is thumping, you're sweating bullets and you know you're going to miss your plane. It's the stuff of nightmares, but a surprisingly common start and end to a happy holiday.

Keep calm with Skyscanner as we show you what to do when you've missed your flight.

1. Check your ticket terms and conditions

If you've booked with a budget carrier such as Air Asia, their policy states that "If you fail to check in on time or fail to board the aircraft by the time the aircraft departs, the fare you paid will not be refunded to you for any reason whatsoever."

Gulp! However, premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates have no-show fees (which can cost between US$75 and US$400 for economy class tickets) where you'll be put on standby for the next flight.

These fees suck, but are usually cheaper than buying a new ticket. Depending on the terms and conditions of your ticket, some airlines will require a new ticket. Lesson to learn: read the small print before you book!

If you've missed your flight due to circumstances beyond your control (traffic delays, illness), you'll need to ask your insurance company how to get compensation.

2. Don't panic if you've missed your connecting flight

If you've missed a connecting flight due to circumstances beyond your control, such as heavy air traffic or bad weather, and are flying with a major carrier such as Singapore Airlines or Qatar Airways, you can expect to be issued with a brand new boarding pass and booked on the next available flight for no fee.

Budget airlines, such as Air Asia, will also protect you providing your booking is done under one booking number (Fly Through service) rather than two separate bookings e.g if you book Singapore to KL to Seoul it must be done as a single booking rather than as two separate flight bookings.

3. If you've already checked-in but miss your flight, get "decontrolled"

You've checked-in, completed immigration and hit the shops for some bargains before heading to a bar for drinks and before you know it, your flight has left! You now need to contact ground staff and get "decontrolled"; they'll take you back through immigration to go and find your lonely luggage waiting for you.

Then you'll be led back into the glaring light of the arrivals hall to the check-in desk where you can pay the no-show fee to get rebooked. In this scenario, be as polite as possible, flash your frequent flyer cards and you might save on the fees.

4. Check out other flights on offer to your destination

Don't panic! Check out Skyscanner and the airport departure boards and see if there are any other flights heading to your destination.

From Changi there are numerous daily connections to major Asian capitals and if you whip out your phone, you may be able to book yourself on to a flight departing a little later in the day (though you'll need to pay for it).

5. Consider alternative airports

If you miss your flight in from Changi, you might still be able to salvage the situation. Nearby airports include Batam's Hang Nadim and Johor's Senai, both of which have plenty of cheap airline tickets and planes that are frequently half full flying to places such as Jakarta, Bangkok, KL, Kuching and Bali.

6. Know your airports

If you get rebooked on an early morning flight, or run out of money for another night in a hotel, you may be forced to spend the night in the airport. In this scenario, check out The Guide to Sleeping in Airports to find out about how to make your airport stay less gruelling.

If you're in Seoul, you have a free museum, showers and quiet areas with Wi-Fi to keep you comfortable, and in Taipei you can have a rest in a quiet zone, enjoy a free shower and browse books in a library.

7. Be positive!

If you can't get home today, or even tomorrow or need to dash to another airport, see it as an opportunity to discover somewhere new. Take the time to visit those galleries, restaurants or sights that you didn't have time to see before.

You've just gained a bit of extra holiday, so take it easy and make the most out of the situation. Instead of sitting around glumly at the airport, get your tickets sorted and then use Skyscanner and book yourself into a nice hotel.