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My US girlfriend on two connecting flights from the US to East Midlands is now in Brussels without a boarding pass to East Midlands. She downloaded the first two from United, but the last says this:

This is not a boarding pass.

Why can't I print my boarding pass today?

How to obtain your boarding passes:

Our system was not able to process the boarding pass for your connecting flight at this time. 1. You may need to contact the operating airline at the connection city for your boarding pass.

Can she get the boarding pass from the gate or does she need to go to United for it? This flight is by BMI. Thank you.

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    talk to the staff for the airline at checkin would be the first thing I would do. – Richard Chambers Jan 12 '18 at 14:33
  • So she'd have to go through security for that? Is that ok with her being on a connecting flight? – quackstar84 Jan 12 '18 at 14:34
  • Going back through security isn't prohibited if you have a connecting flight; it's just a hassle that you don't always have time for. In this case, it's also a tiny bit of a gamble, since you have to show a boarding pass to get back in and you don't have one yet. – Michael Seifert Jan 12 '18 at 14:51
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    Some airports have 'general' transfer counters and/or kiosks. Ask airport staff if the airport has them. – Willeke Jan 12 '18 at 18:40
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    In my experience, gate agents routinely print boarding passes at the gate. I would start by going to the gate. The chance that they can't print the pass there is pretty slim. – phoog Jan 13 '18 at 4:18
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The slip your girlfriend obtained says

You may need to contact the operating airline at the connection city for your boarding pass.

The "operating airline" is (basically) the airline who owns the plane, hires the flight attendants, and so forth. In this case, it would be BMI Regional, so that's who you should contact.

If your girlfriend is still in the secured region of the airport, then there may not be a need to go to the front desk check-in area. (If she were to do this, she'd then have to go through the security checkpoint again, which would be a hassle.) Frequently, airlines will have "customer service" desks inside the secured area, especially at airports where they have many flights (which applies to BMI and Brussels.) If you can't find such a desk easily, talk to any BMI gate agent who isn't busy and ask them what you should do; they will be happy to tell you where to go and what to do.

  • Thank you. In another email is says this Boarding documents for the following traveler(s) are not included with this email. Please go to an airport check-in kiosk or see a United representative at the airport to receive these boarding documents. An United representative? – quackstar84 Jan 12 '18 at 14:41
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    You could try asking a United agent as well, and the BMI folks may tell you to do that. But given that the flight is operated by BMI, and that BMI probably has more staff at Brussels than United does, I'd try BMI first. (Unless you're standing next to a United gate agent right now or something like that.) – Michael Seifert Jan 12 '18 at 14:45
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    BMI staff at Brussels? Highly doubt it - so many people forget that most gate staff aren't airline employees, but work for an outsourced handling agent responsible for a set of airlines. Other than that, I agree with this answer (+1) – Crazydre Jan 12 '18 at 14:53
  • @Coke: Interesting; I actually had no idea. Am I correct in assuming these outsourced handling agents are still the people to talk to about getting a boarding pass, though? – Michael Seifert Jan 12 '18 at 14:56
  • @MichaelSeifert Correct. They're the ones sitting at check-in/transfer desks as well as at the gate. At Zurich airport, for example, the companies are Swissport, Dnata and AAS. At Brussels, it's Brussels Airlines, Aviapartner and Swissport, with Aviapartner being responsible for bmi – Crazydre Jan 12 '18 at 15:11
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  1. Check for BMI kiosks. Sometimes there are kiosks in the secure area (United has them in Boston).
  2. If 30 minutes or less to boarding time: Go directly to the gate. Ask the gate agent to issue a boarding pass. Be pushy, if they refuse. If they do refuse, ask for specific instructions on what to do. Ask "how long will this take and will I still be able to make my flight". Take notes and make sure the gate agent sees that you take notes
  3. If you have more time. Go to the BMI service desk. If there isn't one, then go to any BMI agent at a gate. Don't be pushy, just ask what to do and how do to it.
  4. If all else fails, leave the secure area and go to the BMI check in counter and/or kiosk.

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