We had to put this up after many complaints from airline passengers who patronize air tickets from us. Complains ranging from:
- “I saw the plane is standing, but I was told I can not be checked-in, meanwhile I could still see it standing.”
- “I was only there at the airport just some few minutes late, but I was told I missed the plane when I could still see the plane not taken off.”
- And many others
The fact is that many things happen before a plane takes off. Commercial airline pilots have a list of procedures to run through pre-flight, which get the plane ready to fly. Which paperwork to get over with, Plane weight alignment with the checked-in passengers and their luggage, Weather reports, routing to be used, and how long to stay on that route, signed logbook of passengers checked-in. But before pilots even get into the flight deck, a lot of things have to happen to ensure your flight takes off as scheduled.
When you are told that “You have missed your flight” but you can still see the plane standing and people entering, it means that the pilot responsible is not ready to re-go through a tedious process he might just have had signed and transmitted to his destination airport because of one passenger. He may not also be willing to miss a scheduled time of departure as this may affect other routes the same plane has to take.
Airlines always give check-in periods, so when a passenger gets there later than the time given, you may be told that you have missed your flight because your seat has been re-issued to another passenger who was present during check-in but kept on a wait-list. So you do not have a seat anymore in the plane and might be entitled to a partial refund depending on the type of ticket you possess.
Possessing a commercial air ticket for any journey means that you have a contract with the airline to occupy an assigned seat in the plane within a particular period, not the entire plane. When you are not available to be prepared towards occupying your assigned seat, you lose the right to that seat. In this case, some airlines will let you pay a penalty which is mostly referred to as the “No show” penalty. This penalty may be for the period of right of ownership over the assigned seat you missed.
Terms and conditions for airline tickets always favor the airlines. When you are getting late to the airport, you can place a call to your travel agent who may be able to make some arrangements for check-in before you get to the airport. However, this is mostly not encouraged as you may lose the right for a partial refund after you have been checked-in, but you could not make it on time.
Many airlines also have fare categories that come with different entitlements. Make sure you enquire appropriately from your travel agent about these entitlements and select the one that best suits your travel plan. Some airlines also give privileges to frequent flyers, particularly if you have been traveling with a business class ticket.
It is always good and in the best interest of the flyer to wait for the plane instead of the plane waiting for you. You wait for the plane because it is a commercial plane which carries many other people with different plans from yours.