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What Happens if you Don’t Show up for a Flight?

As the airline industry has grown over the past several decades, more and more people have reverted to flying. Reducing a trip that would otherwise last a day or more into several hours is only one of the reasons why flying is one of the best ways to travel.

Planes rely on specific timetables to reach their destinations. Even though they aren’t as precise as a Swiss watch, taking off usually happens at a predefined time unless there’s a delay. Airlines ask passengers to arrive several hours before the flight to avoid missing it to ensure things go as smoothly as possible, which brings me to today’s topic.

A missed flight isn’t something that happens all the time, but it’s not as rare as you think. People miss their flights and if this hasn’t happened to you and you wonder what happens in those situations, keep reading because I’ll explain how things work.

What Happens if you Don’t Show up for a Flight?

It depends on how you look at things. In terms of the actual flight, things will resume as planned. The plane will take off, but without you on it. As I mentioned, due to the timetable, planes depart airports at specific times to get to their destination on schedule.

On your side of things, several things can happen, and they depend on the airline’s rules. Before I explain that, I need to mention that there are two types of missed flights.

The first one is where you don’t bother and don’t give the airline a heads-up. Regardless of whether you didn’t make it in time to the gate or decided not to even go at the airport, it will consider you a potential passenger if you don’t inform the airline.

You will get called out a few times on the announcement system in the airport before the gate is closed and the plane takes off. You are then considered a “no show” and they will most likely cancel any other connecting flights that you booked.

If you decide to inform the airline that you won’t be flying, you will be removed from the passenger list, and it will be like you never even purchased the ticket. In some situations you will have a small fee taken out of your ticket refund.

Do you Get Charged for Missing a Flight?

Let’s say that you are late to the gate which is already closed and you didn’t inform the airline that you will be missing your flight. You will most likely not receive a refund.

However, the airline will typically work with you on rebooking a flight. Depending on the airline, you may be charged a rebooking fee. Those types of fees are more common with low fare airlines.

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Am I Eligible for a Refund if I Miss a Flight?

Not always, but there are some instances where that is achievable. The first thing you need to know is that even to consider a refund, you’ll need to inform the airline that you will be missing your flight.

The goal is to cancel your flight as soon as possible, after which the airline’s policy will come into play. Some of them offer refunds, while others don’t. An option for a credit for the next flight is also on the table. There are plenty of options which will depend on the airline and ticket class.

What Happens to My Checked Bag if I Miss my Flight?

picking up luggage

If you found yourself in this kind of predicament means that you managed to get to the airport relatively on time but missed the gate. In these scenarios, your bags are already on the plane which has taken off or is in the process.

The most important thing is to first reach out to an airline representative and explain the situation. From this point on, there are two outcomes. If you plan to get to the destination in the near future, as in later that day or the following, there is an option to have your checked baggage kept there. Keep in mind that there are fees associated with that depending on the duration.

If you plan to skip the trip entirely, then you can ask to have your baggage shipped home. The shipping will not be free, so you will need to pay for that.

Should you Cancel or Not Show Up if you Can’t Make Your Flight?

Some people go for the no-show trick, which I believe is not a fair move. On the one hand, the airline cannot plan the number of passengers, weight, etc., meaning that you are causing an inconvenience. There is also the possibility that you can get some additional fees. On the other hand, canceling the flight not only helps the airline run things smoothly, but you may also get a refund or credit for your next flight.

Even if there are no fees or penalties for not showing up for a flight, I would say that you should cancel it.

Andov Slavcho

Slavcho Andov is a part-time freelancer and full-time geek. He's a board game enthusiast, tech junkie, amateur photographer and Sith lord. Ohh...and he loves to travel.