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Advice required. Just tried to check into my BA flight from Miami to LHR and they are saying an 18 hour delay. So do I still need to be at the airport in time for the original departure time or will I have classed as a 'no show'

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    Usually, check-in deadlines (for baggage drop) are based on the original departure time. But given the very long delay, I'm pretty sure they will be accommodating. I would strongly recommend you call BA for clarification (they could actually rebook you on a different flight -- they have a strong incentive to do so!). – jcaron Oct 30 '18 at 0:09
  • Also, I wonder how they have come up with this long delay so long in advance. The aircraft planned for this route does not seem to have any issue (currently flying CPT-LHR, on time, and the LHR-MIA flight is scheduled on time as well). There may be an issue with a member of the flight crew scheduled for that flight... But there are two other flights before that one, they may be able to rebook you on one of those. – jcaron Oct 30 '18 at 0:20
  • Thank you for the advice. Trying to get through to BA with no joy at the moment! – Kathy Oct 30 '18 at 0:25
  • Remember: they are most probably liable for a big penalty for the delay, so they have every incentive to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. The other BA flight tomorrow evening seems to be full (they probably already started transferring passengers onto that one), but the AA flight isn't. – jcaron Oct 30 '18 at 0:27
  • This advice seems to be simply .. wrong. When there's a horrific delay like this, you're really supposed to be there at the original time, yeah. In ancient history, zillions of years ago, airlines would "give people a break". – Fattie Oct 30 '18 at 17:16
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Unfortunately, the offical requirement is to be on time for the original scheduled time, as annoying as this may be.

The reason is that the delay might disappear partly or completely (the spare part came earlier than expected; another pilot volunteered; repairs went faster than estimated; whatever), and then they will fly without you, and you missed the flight and have to bear the consequences.

If you can get in contact with them, they may confirm that you can come later (and I recommend to ask them to email you this for reference). Otherwise, you play at your own risk.

  • It is worth pointing out that there are occasions when the airline and airport absolutely do not want you to check in at the original time. – DJClayworth Oct 30 '18 at 14:28
  • it's true that there are some rare, unusual cases where they will literally tell you to "stay away", but that doesn't help the thrust of this question. – Fattie Oct 30 '18 at 17:17
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This happened to me before, and the rule is you have to be at the airport at the original check in time, irrespective of the actual flight departure time.

There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is that the check in desks are not manned permanently. Staff from BA (or its agent in Miami) are only allowed to operate the check-in desks for a specific period of time - usually from 3 hours before scheduled boarding till about an hour from boarding.

Once this window passes, the counters are emptied and another airline is takes over. The only exception to this rule is if you are flying from the home base of the airline (so if you were flying from London to Miami, it is possible for you to check-in earlier at London since there are dedicated, permanent BA check-in desks).

At some airports (this doesn't apply to the US or Europe but adding for completeness) the immigration counters also have a set time during which a flight is "open" for processing, due to security concerns.

So given all of the above, the you should not gamble with the timings. Arrive on time for your original flight, check in and drop off any luggage. You can then choose not to go through security until nearer to the time of your flight.

As you are already checked-in and have surrendered your luggage, you can leave the airport and come back and go directly to the security queue.

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