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Cautionary tale: Why you should arrive early at the airport

Discussion in 'Trip Experiences' started by vegli, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. vegli

    vegli Hangar Gold Member I

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    Question: I had a United Airlines ticket from Houston to Miami. My flight was to leave on a Sunday at 7:20 a.m. When I got to the airport, I tried to use the kiosk to check in, since I had only a carry-on.

    However, I was unable to get my boarding pass; the screen flashed that I needed to see a representative. I waited in line to see a representative to get my boarding pass. Apparently, I had to get my boarding pass 45 minutes before the flight. They then put me on a 9:00 a.m. flight, the next one available after my original flight.

    The representative said that I might want to drop by my original gate, since it was early Sunday morning, and perhaps my plane would still be there. I did, and in fact my flight was still there.

    At the gate, I asked if I could board that flight, and I was told that I had to pay a $75 fee since I was now on the 9:00 a.m. flight. I did not argue and shelled out the $75 so I could board my original flight. Do I have any recourse to get my money back?

    — Tito Mendoza, Houston

    Answer: Here's a situation where a few minutes made all the difference. Travelers flying at off-peak times with just a small bag in hand can get lulled into thinking they don't need to show up early to the airport. But airlines enforce minimum check-in times in order to allow for baggage processing, security procedures and to help ensure on-time flight departures. You can't argue with an airline computer: If you're even a minute afoul of the deadline, it won't let you check in.

    United's check-in requirements vary slightly depending on the departure airport, if you're checking luggage, and whether your flight is domestic or international. The absolute minimum cutoff time is 30 minutes before your flight departs, but that's if you're taking a domestic flight with only a carry-on, and only from certain airports.

    Mendoza was flying out of Houston, where United requires passengers without luggage to check in 30 minutes beforehand; those with checked bags must present themselves no less than 45 minutes before the scheduled flight. Mendoza cut it a little too close, so the computer at the kiosk wouldn't issue his boarding pass.

    "He missed it by about five minutes," according to United representative Jennifer Dohm. "We show a check in of 6:55 a.m. in the lobby, and his flight was already boarding."

    More....
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...03/25/when-to-arrive-at-the-airport/70378944/
     
  2. Oggie

    Oggie Hangar Bronze Member IV

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    If he is unable to get the $75 refund then this sure will look like a case of bureaucracy trumping common sense. The airline put him on a later flight and then told him to go to the gate and see if he could get on his originally scheduled flight. The fact that he could would seem to take precedence over the fact that he checked in a bit late. Despite the late check-in and having to wait to see a ticket agent he still made it on the flight...come on United. If they refuse to refund then Mendoza should definitely take his flight business elsewhere.
     
  3. cgm

    cgm Hangar Associate Member IV

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    --- business elsewhere - getting less and less on that option -- and getting screwed option keeps going up ---
     
  4. Shawn White

    Shawn White Hangar Silver Member I

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    Sometimes you do hope that people could use a little bit less of "That's just our policy" attitudes and a bit more common sense when dealing with situations like these, but at the same time you always should arrive to the airport early. After you miss a couple international flights and go through re-booking hassles in a country where you can't get visas, you'll figure out why that extra block of time waiting in the airport is worth it. :D
     
  5. David Barnshaw

    David Barnshaw Hangar Gold Member I

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    If that happened in the UK it would all be settled in a small claims court.
     
  6. Brent Heiss

    Brent Heiss Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Airlines are a joke and all about the almighty $ not common sense. Heck that is most of Merica anymore. America is all but gone that is why I call it Merica anymore.
     
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  7. Edward Jeszka

    Edward Jeszka Hangar Gold Member I

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    We seem to be losing it in bits and pieces, first the "A" then the "M". Sad to see that happening.
     
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  8. Everett 757

    Everett 757 Hangar Silver Member VI

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    Isn't that the truth. It sure is sad, and it seems to be accelerating. :(
     
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  9. Edward Jeszka

    Edward Jeszka Hangar Gold Member I

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    It sure as hell does.
     
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