If I know a flight is delayed can I turn up late for check-in at the airport?

  • This is the scenario:

    I have tickets booked for a 13:40 scheduled flight with Emirates. I need to check bags in so plan to be at the airport at the advised 2 hours before flight departure (11:40) but I look ahead and see my plane is delayed and not scheduled for departure until 16:40.

    Can I arrive at the airport at 14:40 to check-in or should I knowingly arrive at the airport a full 5 hours before the revised departure time?

    Footnote: The reason of the delay is that the inbound flight which will become be my outbound flight after turnaround is delayed in arriving at my departure airport.

    The flight might not be late even if it were delayed. The airline can have the plane fly faster to ensure it arrives on time or not as late.

    Easiest: call the airline at the airport office. That's you best chance of getting good information.

    I should have seen this thread last night . Just missed a local flight all because of not showing up on original boarding time even though the flight was delayed ... cost me 130$ but well, it is what it is....

    I suppose, from the airline's perspective, if a group of flights were delayed due to weather, whereas later flights were _not_ delayed because the weather cleared up, you'd end up with a bunch of flights leaving all at the same time. If you could delay check-in, this would mean a lot more passengers than planned all arriving to check in at the same time, which could cause check-in delays.

  • JoErNanO

    JoErNanO Correct answer

    6 years ago

    No you can't turn up late to check-in on a delayed flight, unless the check-in closing time is delayed along with the departure time. Note that usually this is not the case.

    The check-in closing time is set relative to the scheduled departure, and usually remains the same, regardless of whether the flight is delayed or not. Hence if you show up at the airport late for check-in, even though you still have plenty of time before boarding due to the flight being delayed, you will be considered as a no-show. This happened to me a few years back on a snowy day in which all inbound and outbound flights to/from LHR were delayed.

    Several websites and forums mention this (see here and here). However I believe this webpage from Air Berlin to be more authoritative:

    We are unable to check in passengers arriving at the check-in desk after the check-in deadline. These passengers lose their entitlement to be carried on the flight and do not have any right of reimbursement, issue of a credit note or free rebooking. This check-in deadline will remain the same even if the departure of the flight is delayed.

    (Emphasis mine)

    Other airlines, including Emirates and British Airways, carry no mention of whether the check-in deadline can be modified, probably because they assume that when flights are delayed the check-in closing time does not vary. However they do mention that arriving late for check-in will cause you to be denied boarding in their Terms of Carriage. Emirates (in PDF) says:

    6.3 You must comply with the applicable Check-in Deadline. We have the right to cancel your reservation if you do not comply with the Check-in Deadline or, if no Check-in Deadline has been indicated, you fail to check-in prior to closing of check-in for your flight. See also Article 5.7.

    British Airways says:

    6c) You must check in by the check-in deadline

    If you do not complete the check-in process by the check-in deadline, we may decide to cancel your reservation and not carry you. By completing the check-in process we mean that you have received your boarding pass for your flight.

    I think this is not accurate, if the flight was delayed on spot then your answer applies, if the flight was delayed for hours then there is no point in showing earlier.. Even worse, showing up at the gate at the time shown in the boarding pass... just plain wrong. In many airlines, people will receive SMS and/or emails if there is a delay, I follow times in that email, not the scheduled times.

    @MeNoTalk Yes that would make sense in an ideal world. From personal experience I have never seen a check-in closing time postponed due to a delayed flight. The reason could very well be that land personnel won't work extra time because the flight is delayed. So they do their job as planned and let you become someone else's problem. This makes even more sense in airports where land personnel is not employed by the airline. In my case the fight was delayed 4h well before the plane arrived at lhr and the check-in deadline was not postponed.

    @JoErNanO That may be true at airports where an airline only has one or two flights, but that issue wouldn't apply to airports where a given airline operates lots of flights. In those cases, the check-in desks don't close (until the end of the day, at least) and they're usually shared for all flights the airline is operating. Thus, in the case of Emirates, I would expect that what you say might be true when boarding an Emirates flight in, say, San Francisco, but probably not when boarding an Emirates flight in Dubai.

    Does this mean in-person checking, or is online checkin OK?

    (+1) Good to know! This does beg the question why some airlines send you SMS about delays, though. It seems that in most cases, you can't really act on them in any meaningful way (maybe if you checked in online and only have hand luggage?).

    Delayed flight departure times are considered "estimated" departure times, not fixed. Pilots will try to make up time in flight, ground crews will try to turn the plane around quicker. Assuming that you have two more hours to ftd, may leave you standing at the gate after the plane departs.

    @relaxed - delayed flight notices are merely a courtesy, to keep you informed of a situation. They are not permission to deviate from the rules. They really only effect those who do check in online and carry everything on, but even those travelers won't risk arriving too late.

    @DJClayworth Since online check-in does effectively qualify as a regular check-in then I would assume yes. Haven't tried it though. Plus you must consider baggage drop closes at the same time as check-in.

    @DJClayworth the question is about checking bags, which has to be done in person (of course, you can check in online and indicate that you will be checking bags, but physically handing the bags to the airline must be done in person, of course, and you will be at their mercy if you attempt to do so after whatever deadline they specify).

    @reirab Mine was a BA flight from Heathrow. Not saying that it applies to all airlines of course, just bringing in my personal experience into the picture.

    @Relaxed You may _need_ to act on them if you have a connecting flight after the delayed one. In particular, you may need to quickly contact the airline and try to get an alternate route worked out if the delay is likely to cause you to miss a connection.

    I had a flight that was showing as 7 hour delay with BA at LHR, however BA substituted a different plane so flight was only delayed in reality by 55 mins.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM