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.