I was initially due to fly Brussels Airlines out of New York JFK airport. I found the bag drop counter 75 minutes before the scheduled departure. On my boarding pass received by e-mail, the posted bag drop deadline was 70 minutes.

Actually, Terminal 1 in JFK is a bit of mess concerning signage on how to find a specific airline check-in area. When I arrived at the row of counters at the time above, no one was there, not even a screen showing the airline name or any sign. Afterwards, I found an agent at the ticketing counter who was not very motivated to help me out of this delicate situation.

She told me that check-in had actually closed 90 minutes before departure. Her advice was to go straight to the gate, which is not so helpful having a bag to check that would not clear security anyway, or ship the bag as freight, which would have had me miss the flight given the time required to get to the freight terminal.

I finally had to call United on my own (the original reservation was done on their website) to have an agent explaining me options to reschedule my flight. I could limit the damage as he was comprehensive; he waived the change fee, letting me pay the fare difference only. This had me shell out an extra CHF 188.

I think I respected the conditions by arriving at the counter (or what I guess would be such) before bag drop closing time as written on my ticket, thus it is the airline's responsibility of having closed earlier.

Can I get the extra expense refunded?

  • 2
    What was the actual wording on the boarding pass? Did it give a specific time, or X minutes before Y? The Brussels Airlines website does indeed state 90 minutes before departure. At what time did you actually get to the counter, and are you sure it was the right counter?
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 21:16
  • 4
    Boarding Passes typically show when you are required to be at the gate, not when the baggage drop closes. the latter is on the website, and rarely less than 90 minutes for international flights. are you sure it said different?
    – Aganju
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 16:29
  • Actually the boarding pass says "up to 70 minutes for flights from or to USA unless otherwise stated" and the pass had no mention of a specific bag drop closing time. Only boarding and departure were mentioned.
    – DavGin
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 21:20
  • 1
    @LorenPechtel a lot do it for electronic boarding passes, for example Air France
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 6:11
  • 1
    @LorenPechtel Online check-in boarding passes frequently state the bag drop time on them. eg, my United Airlines one from a few days ago has "Bag check must be completed no later than 45 minutes before departure.", whilst a recent Lufthansa one states the action time you need to check bags by (15:30 for my 16:30 flight). Oman Air and Air India both have the time in the email sent with your boarding pass. And so on...
    – Doc
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


Based on your comment identifying the details in your email not referring to bag drop - but instead to boarding, I would tend to think you will be out of luck.

Generally, whatever you can get at the terminal is what you will get - successfully getting something out of an airline after the fact is a real challenge. In the future I would try and get in front of a person - and ask them to help you solve your problem. I generally in such a situation tend to admit to having made a mistake, but would really appreciate the help to resolve it without it costing me an arm & a leg (or firstborn child, or whatever other idiom you like and seems appropriate. the key is to help the person on the other side of the counter know you appreciate their work, value them as a fellow traveler in the journey of life and that you personally are simply a human who made a mistake)

It does sound like you did get a bit of the short end of a stick - I have missed plenty of flights and always been re-scheduled without being charged, even for a difference in fare. EXCEPT for one notable occasion when I had to change an easyjet flight from Europe to the UK. On that occasion, we had 2 seats, and had to pay a very steep price I think it was over £100 each.

Note To All: NEVER try to change an easyjet ticket after purchase!

Having said all that, you are talking about a flight on United - arguably one of the most hated airlines in the US. This is the airline that dragged a seated passenger off with a security guard, all so they could seat a staff person being shifted around the country: United boots passenger

It is in fact because passengers frequently miss flights that airlines overbook!

I don't like your chances of getting much out of them. Give it a go certainly - but be prepared for quite the run around, very little sympathy and a potentially unpleasant experience. Not quite as bad as that guy - but maybe not so great.

  • 1
    Actually the airlaine that denied bags is Brussels Airlines. United's role is limited as I booked the flight there but did not actually board a United aircraft. In the email, the 70-minuute delay is the check-in deadline. Which would include the bag drop, as it makes sense.
    – DavGin
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 22:39
  • @DavGin Check-in and checked bag drop are not the same thing. A number of airlines let you check in online these days, while bag drop can obviously not be done online. Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 15:40

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