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Call Kurtis: Why How You Book Could Ruin Your Trip

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- What would you do if you missed your connection, and the airline refused to put you on the next flight?

That's what Michael Hughes said happened to him when he booked his own trip from Stockton to Bentonville, Ala.

All he wanted to do was get to his 88-year-old father's hospital bed, after he had a medical emergency.

He found Allegiant Air could get him there the fastest.

But Allegiant did not have any direct flights, and the website didn't let Hughes book a connection from Stockton to Northwest Arkansas -- so he booked each leg of the flight individually.

"I had to piece it together," he said. "They didn't offer a full trip."

He didn't expect he'd end up stranded.

"It was pretty upsetting," he said.

Hughes said the first Allegiant flight to Las Vegas got in late, causing him to miss his tight 25-minute connection, and Allegiant wouldn't put him on the next flight or refund his $319.99 ticket.

"They're telling me too bad, you missed the flight," he said.

Trudy Flores of the Travelstore said if you book the legs of trips separately, airlines won't know there's another leg and may not help you.

"There's a lot of rules now attached with airline tickets," she said.

"By the letter of the law, they don't owe him anything," she said. "But does compassion play into it? I think so. And maybe they need to look at it."

We reached out to Allegiant, which refused to return Hughes' fare saying, "If customers choose to create connections within our network ... they do so at their own risk."

Hughes booked a flight to Northwest Arkansas the next day on another airline.

Now admitting the mistake, he said he won't book the same way again.

"If I had to do it again, I'd do it different," he said.

If you book legs separately, you won't get those protections from the airlines if you miss a connection.

There are guidelines for minimum layover times, but it varies, depending on the airport, distance between gates and even weather conditions.

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