Avoid Becoming a No-Show on Your Flight

When a passenger is listed as a no-show by the airline, not only do they miss out on their outbound flight, but their remaining flights are affected as well. The airlines classify a no-show as a passenger who arrives late or does not show up for their outbound flight. This creates a domino effect, and all subsequent flights, including their return, are canceled and no refunds are issued.

This results in the passenger having to pay for their ticket…again. However, there are preventative measures to help avoid this dilemma.

The airlines have a fixed deadline as to when passengers need to check-in for their flight, arrive at the departure gate, and check their baggage. If any of these deadlines are missed, passengers can lose their reservation and any rights for compensation. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but the risk remains.


Here is another caveat. When passengers receive a message from the airline about a flight delay, they may readjust their arrival time to the airport. However, this can also result in a problem. For example, if they were told their flight will be delayed two hours, and they arrive at the airport according to the new flight time, they could end up being a no-show if the flight ends up leaving earlier than expected.

Flight delays can cause confusion and leave the passengers uncertain as to when they need to arrive at the airport or be at their departure gate.

According to the airlines, even though a new departure time may be issued, it can change at any given time. The repairs or other circumstances may be rectified sooner than anticipated, thus allowing the flight to leave earlier. In essence, the airlines expect passengers to arrive at the airport in advance of their original departure time or risk becoming a no-show.

Other factors that contribute to passengers becoming a no-show include traffic delays, being stuck in line at the ticket counter or security checkpoints, a delayed connecting flight that is on another airline and on a different itinerary, and more.

So what can you do to protect yourself from becoming a no-show?

The key is to keep the airline informed.  If you know you will be cutting it close, ask the airline for assistance. Hopefully, the airline will be more inclined to help you if it is aware of the problem. As soon as you realize you are going to miss your outbound flight, call the airline and ask to be rebooked on another flight. Ask if it will make the change without charging a fee (if the circumstances were beyond your control).

Request a written confirmation that your remaining connecting or return flights will still be valid. This cannot be taken for granted. As mentioned above, missing an outbound flight typically results in all other connecting flights being automatically canceled.

When booking connecting flights on different airlines, make sure they are all on the same itinerary. If your flight on one airline is delayed, causing you to miss your connection on a second airline, you can rebook your flight at no cost (or for a nominal fee).

If you book on separate itineraries and miss your connecting flight, you will be considered a no-show. You will end up losing the money paid for the original ticket and will have to purchase another at the walk-up ticket price.


When booking connecting flights, plan ahead for possible delays, especially if during the winter months. Connecting flights on different airlines are oftentimes in another terminal that could end up being at the opposite end of the airport (or so it seems).

Arrive at the airport at least an hour in advance for domestic flights and two hours or more for international flights. If your travel is around a holiday or spring break, increase your arrival time.

Passengers experience flight problems daily. By knowing what to expect, you can avoid the pitfalls and save on unnecessary expenses and reduce your frustration.


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