How to get a free plane ticket if you miss your flight: expert

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By Dan Sears

Take a seat.

Anyone who’s ever panicked about missing a flight, stop doing that, one expert explained — show up to the airport anyway, and a gate agent will book you on the next available plane.

TikTok travel hacker Jake Peterson shared his experience using what’s known as the “flat tire” excuse, where you blame car trouble on your inability to make it to the gate in time.

“Earlier today, I was running late for my flight because I had a flat tire. So I knew I wasn’t gonna make it,” he said in a viral 37-second clip with over 277,000 views, first posted by The Independent.

“But fortunately, most airlines have a flat tire policy —American, Delta, United. The agent, there’s actually a button on their computer that says ‘flat tire policy,’ and they will, for free of charge, move you to the next flight.’


Late for a flight? Show up anyway — within a two-hour window, it's typically easy to get rebooked.
Late for a flight? Show up anyway — within a two-hour window, it’s typically easy to get rebooked. FangXiaNuo

“So next time you’re delayed because of a flat tIre, use this trick. It could help you save you some money.”

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Other frequent travelers chimed in after viewing the clip, backing up Peterson’s claim.

“Real rule, but you don’t need any sort of excuse. Just make sure you’re not more than 2 hours late after your original scheduled flight departure,” claimed one commenter.


TikTok traveler Jake Peterson sparked a discussion about what's known as the "flat tire" rule.
TikTok traveler Jake Peterson sparked a discussion about what’s known as the “flat tire” rule. jakepeterson114/TikTok

“Most airlines’ “flat tire” policy also covers other issues out of your control, i.e., traffic jam or severe weather,” another chimed in.

“This is true I’ve used this… and yes, my Uber got a flat tire on the way to the airport,” a third jetsetter joked.

The tip comes as the competition on travel TikTok heats up, with so-called hackers in a race to outdo each other with surprising tips and shocking reveals that can wind up attracting millions of eyeballs.

Jimmy Mitchell, a dad of two from Australia, recently snagged 1.7 million views on a video detailing a classic trick — how signing up for credit cards can lead to free business class travel.

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“One of the best-kept secrets about business class is no one pays for it,” Mitchell said.

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