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If I’m denied boarding, what can I do?

First: Get in line to talk with the airport staff.

Second: Call our priority line for immediate support: +1-415-977-7171.

It is unusual for airlines to deny someone boarding. When it happens, the two most common reasons are:

1. Lack of proper travel documents.

2. The airline claims you do not have a confirmed seat on the flight.

Some detailed information for you to know and steps to take if you’re denied boarding: 

1. Lack of documents (including visas, immunization records, onward tickets, or sufficient passport validity):

If you do not have the correct documents to travel:
– The airlines can and should rebook you. If they tell you that they cannot, ask to speak to a supervisor, and do not leave the counter until you are sure you have not been marked as a “no-show.” Note that they do have the right to charge you a change fee plus fare/tax difference to rebook your ticket.

– Get the names of those who refuse to assist you if possible.

– Ask the airlines to rebook your flight for another day.

– If they cannot, or if you are not sure when you should rebook, ask if they can cancel your ticket so that you can rebook it at another time.

– If you’re offered a refund, ask for details in writing.

– If your ticket is reissued, make sure you have updated travel documents with a confirmation number before leaving the counter.

If you believe that you do have the correct documents to travel:

– The airlines can and should rebook you. If they tell you that they cannot, do not leave the counter, and follow these steps:

– Ask to speak to a supervisor immediately.

– Get the names of everyone you speak with from the airlines.

– Ask for something in writing indicating why they are not letting you on the plane.

– Make sure you are not marked as a “no-show”. Ask them to rebook your ticket for the following day. If they cannot, ask them to cancel your ticket so that you can rebook it another time.

– If they charge you any fees, get a receipt so that we can help you file a claim with the airlines for reimbursement (assuming that you do in fact hold the documents required).

2. If the airline says you do not have a confirmed seat on the flight:

– Your ticket is your “confirmed seat”. We’ve never seen a case where a ticket we have sold was “not confirmed”.

– Some airlines use this tactic when they oversell flights and they want to bump people without compensation. Your ticket is your confirmed seat.

– If the airlines have oversold the flight, they must either compensate you or rebook you to travel with a different airline.

– Be polite but firm. Do not leave the counter without a resolution.

– If you’re offered a refund or reissue, get something in writing.

– Make a note of the names of the staff who are denying you boarding.