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Losing Your Seats

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Most airlines run on a tight schedule. Passengers depend on airlines to depart on time so that they can make connections, plan family gatherings, arrange meetings and so on. The airlines almost never hold a flight for late passengers.

The U.S. carriers all have a strict 45 minute time limit to check in for a flight. If you don’t check in before this you will lose your seat. This sime time limit also applies to checked bags. Even if you check in online in advance, your bags need to be checked in before the 45 minute cutoff.

There is also a time limit for boarding a plane. Each airline is different but it is usually between 10 and 15 minutes before departure. If you get stuck in the security line for example, your seats can be released and given away to standby passengers.

The best advice is to check in online and arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time to find parking and get through the security line. Also make sure you are at the gate at least 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time.

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Jay Muller

Author of The Flight Advisor