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Travel nightmare: What can happen when you miss your flight

/ Source: TODAY

This year alone, long TSA lines have caused over 70,000 American Airlines customers to miss their flights, the airline said. And that's just one airline. Missing your flight for whatever reason can cost you big bucks — and big headaches.

To find out what can happen when your plane takes off without you, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen booked flights on three major airlines and missed them on purpose. The ways the three airlines handled the situation varied widely.

Rossen learned that on most airlines, you can cancel a flight and get a full refund within 24 hours of booking, on most tickets.

RELATED: 'All-inclusive' rates: Are they really the best vacation bargain?

Another tip: When you're booking your flight, don't just pay attention to the price of the ticket — also look at how many flights a day leave from that airport to your destination on your airline. The more routes they have, the better chance you have to rebook if something goes wrong. And of course, the later the flight, the harder it can get.

To suggest a topic for an upcoming investigation, visit the Rossen Reports Facebook page.