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How not to miss the plane: all the mistakes to avoid

When the holidays are finally within reach of selfie, suddenly, at night, he will come to visit you: the anxious manifestation of your subconscious that will suggest the prospect of spending your holidays on the balcony of your house because you will probably lose your plane. 

Before asking the fateful question «What happens if I miss my plane», let’s see what are the 8 mistakes to avoid for it to happen. 

Losing a Ryanair, Alitalia, Wizz Air or any other airline is really annoying because it means starting a series of huge problems: paying the surcharge or the penalty of the cancelled flight, possibly buying a new plane ticket, changing the hotel reservation, recalculating the arrival times, the schedules of the shuttles, not to mention the anger and stress with which you will have to deal!

Actually, not to miss an airplane is all a matter of organization and I can guarantee that if you arm yourself with method and discipline — I know that holidays are for relaxing, but at least wait to be seated on the airplane before doing so — you can anticipate all the possible problems able to put sticks between the wheels (or, in this case, between the blades of the propeller) to those who just want to enjoy its well-deserved disconnection from everyday life.

So let’s not waste any more time and see immediately the classic setbacks that can make you lose your plane, so as to defeat them and guard you against the little tricks of luck, to begin in serenity your longed-for holidays.

What setbacks do you have to avoid in order not to miss your flight?

1- Last minute documents and suitcase

I’m referring to luggage, documents, boarding passes. The day of departure for the holidays can be very hectic, especially if the whole family goes on holiday. You have to make sure to close water and gas, maybe set the alarm, close windows and balconies, put the plants on the landing and so on. If on the morning of your departure you find yourself having to print your plane ticket, take your passport from the drawer and finally pack your bags, one eye on the closet and one on the clock, it is very likely that in your eagerness not to forget anything, you will forget something.

The advice is therefore to organize in advance: print your boarding pass in the days before departure, put your documents in the bag the night before or leave them in plain sight near the entrance, perhaps near the keys of the house or car, and prepare your luggage with everything you need before going to bed.

2- Arriving late at the airport

Maybe you didn’t hear the alarm clock or spent more time than usual in your daily chores, had breakfast at your leisure or worked with your neighbor to tell her about your upcoming trip. The fact is that now that trip is really becoming a dream because you will never get there in time to get on your plane. In these cases the solution is not not to sleep or lie down dressed, but to set up more than one alarm and limit as much as possible things to do on the same day of departure.

But the delay may not be your fault: you may find queues on the motorway or, if you have chosen public transport, you may find yourself in the middle of a strike. Obviously there are situations that you can’t predict but in general advice is to always check on the internet. For example, you can consult the transport strike prospectus on the website of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Ansa website and, for the situation on the motorway, the news published on the CCISS website.

Calculate well the time to get to the airport and remember that for a domestic flight or within the EU you must present yourself at least one and a half hours before the departure time (even 2 hours before in high season), while for a non-European flight you must also calculate 3 hours to carry out all the preliminary checks. Don’t forget that in Italy, the check-in desk closes 40 minutes before the departure of the flight.

3- Expired identity card and passport

Imagine arriving at the check in desk with your brightest smile and hearing you say, «I’m sorry, your passport has expired, we can’t let you on board. When you’ve recovered from the shock you’ll want to eat your hands because missing your plane for such inattention is really beginner. But it does happen, because of the haste or a renewal you promised to make and in the end you forgot.

So, if you don’t want to miss your plane, always check the validity date of your documents. The time it takes to renew an expired passport varies depending on the office where you apply: the Police Headquarters has the fastest time, from 1-2 days up to one week (depending on the size of the municipality). If you request the renewal of the document at the post office or directly at the offices of your municipality, the time is longer: from one week to about one month.

The identity card, on the other hand, is renewed on its own if it is requested in the municipality of residence.

At the last minute, and only in the case of flights on the national territory, remember that as an alternative to the passport or identity card you can use as identification document the driving license, the nautical license, the pension booklet, the license to operate thermal systems, the license to carry weapons and other identification cards issued by the administration of the State, provided you have a photograph and stamp. You can find all the information on the website of the State Police.

4- You have not applied for a visa

For some countries it is not enough to present your passport, but you must apply for a tourist visa at the Italian embassy of the country in which you will go. If, on arrival, you are checked that you do not have a valid visa for the country in which you landed, you may be sent home without too many compliments. In some cases you will have the opportunity to spend 24 hours in the city of arrival, in others even 72 hours but probably this was not what you had in mind when you are planning your holiday.

Some destinations for which a tourist visa is required? China, Russia, India, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, Myanmar. Do you want to know if your next tourist destination has special visa requirements? You can consult this interactive map where all countries that require a visa for foreign citizens are indicated.

5- Travelling with minors without the necessary documentation

If this is your first time travelling with your child, be very careful at this point because in recent years there have been some important news. Since 2012, in fact, all Italian minors must have an identity document to travel by air. The inscription of the child in the passport of the parent is no longer sufficient.

6- You are pregnant and have not notified the airline

Some airlines, in fact, prefer not to take responsibility for pregnant women travelling beyond a certain period of pregnancy. This means that you may not be accepted on board and lose your plane for not having ascertained this possibility. Always check the flight regulations of your chosen companion. Also, remember that pregnant women who are in the last 4 weeks of gestation, who have a complicated pregnancy or for whom a twin birth is planned must be in possession of MEDIF, the medical clearance.

7- You have the wrong gate

Maybe you arrive at the airport well over 2 hours in advance recommended, a bit ‘for the anxiety to miss the plane, a bit’ because none of the mishaps that you had assumed and this has earned you a good deal of time’ time.

But don’t sing victory: even if you’re already at the airport, you’ve checked in and passed the security checks, don’t let your guard down: missing a plane is a moment’s notice. Check your monitors regularly to make sure your flight’s gate hasn’t been changed and pay attention to the sound announcements. Last minute changes happen and you must keep the maximum alert until your flight gate has been opened.

8- You missed a connection.

What should I do if I perfect my air connection? In this case you can do very little to play in advance and avoid losing your flight. Due to a flight delay in passenger boarding procedures, technical problems or difficult weather conditions, an aircraft may arrive late at its destination and cause passengers who have arranged an air connection to miss it.

Unfortunately, even if the damage was caused by the airline, the passenger is not always entitled to compensation. In fact, it is only possible to claim an airline refund if the two flights are operated by the same airline (or if you have purchased airline tickets with 2 different transactions). The only possible advice to limit the occurrence of this inconvenience is to anticipate possible mishaps and make sure that the air connection you have to take is not too close to the time (always assumed) of arrival of your first flight.

In conclusion…

We often take for granted things that are not at all or, even though we are aware of some forgetfulness, we behave lightly. If you arrive late or do not have the necessary documents for boarding, we are not just talking about the risk of losing an aircraft, but about certainty. Don’t be anxious about it anyway: maybe the first few times you’ll have to take this list of tips with you, but then the whole procedure will come naturally to you.


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