FFE Magazine

Airline rules you need to know

Photo from nola

Many passengers often find themselves in a pit with security or airline personnel for violating airline regulations. Although we cannot deny that some passengers tend to disregard air-travel regulations, problems usually arise because many passengers are also unfamiliar with them.

Recently, a blogger complained about a particular airline’s inefficiency. The woman arrived just 10 minutes before her flight. Naturally, she was not allowed to board the plane anymore. The airline personnel put her on another flight later in the day but since it was too late, the woman opted to buy a new ticket with another airline without informing the personnel. As she was about to go home, the woman found out that her return flight reservation was cancelled since she did not appear for her outbound flight. This is where her rants and complains in her blog began. Technically the airline did what they could to resolve the matter by putting her on another flight, but the passenger failed to acknowledge her responsibility to airline regulation by not confirming her cancellation.

Many situations like this happen everyday. Airlines try to protect their passengers and give them the best service possible, but passengers also need to acknowledge and follow airline protocol if they want the best experience out of air travel. To avoid airline troubles and confusion, here are some basic air-travel regulations that every passenger should know.

1. Arrive early, not on time. Airlines demand that you arrive 2-3 hours earlier than your time of departure because you might find yourself caught up in terribly long queues at the airport, which might make you miss your flight. Airlines have specific times allotted for passengers to check in, and for their bags to be transferred on board the plane. If you miss these even for a mere 2 minutes, airline authorities will not bother stopping the flight for you.

If you are one of those people that really cannot get up early, here are two things you can do to make airport procedures easier:

  • Check in online the day before.
  • Check your bags online in advance. This way you can directly bring them to the counter without having to queue up, pay for bag fees and waste time.

2. Flat tire rule. Accidents, like having a flat tire on your way to the airport, do happen sometimes and cause people to miss their flights. Airlines like to call this the “Flat tire rule” and usually take pity on such passengers. As a result, airlines can put you either on a standby list or on another flight later in the day, free of charge. All you have to do is show up to confirm your attendance. If you fail to show up, airlines do not have the obligation to put you on another flight anymore.

Take note, however, that this rule is just an informal understanding within airlines. Airlines only consider passengers who arrive late for their flight due to unavoidable circumstances.

What if you are severely late for something though, cannot take the later flight going to your destination, and opt to fly with another airline? When this happens, other flight segments, returning or connecting flights, in your reservation will automatically be void. However, some airlines are quite lenient and will give you consideration if you inform them first. Some of them may let you keep your return flight reservation depending on the situation.

3. Your bags go with you wherever you go. Airlines follow a very strict schedule of when bags are boarded on their planes. This is why even with 10-15 minutes to boarding time, no airline will just allow you to board their plane.

For those arriving at the ticketing counter 10-15 minutes prior to boarding, some of you might ask if it is possible to have your bags checked in already even if you have decided to take on the next or later flight. Airline authorities will tell you this impossible.  For security measures, airlines need to monitor the number of bags and their corresponding owners on the plane.

Each airline has their set of regulations. Most of them have similar protocols but just to be prepared, inquire and familiarize yourself with them before your flight.

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