This is a hypothetical situation, but unfortunately may be real:

I have a boarding pass but I don't want to take my flight, that departs at 7:00 PM. And, I have no enough money for pay an hotel, so I want to sleep in airport, but in airside area, after the security check. The reason for it is that is safer than outside.

However, 7:00 PM is too early for sleeping. What can happen if I arrive in airport at 11:00 PM, hours after my "no-wanted" flight is gone? Will they let me go to boarding gate anyway, even that I had "missed" my flight?

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    Exact arrangements will vary from airport to airport. This is not answerable without some specific details about airport and flight. – user90371 Jul 11 '19 at 3:00
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    The situation you describe makes no sense to me. If you're cancelling travel from home, you should just go home to sleep. If you're abroad and have run out of money, why would you deliberately miss your flight home? That would mean you'd need to pay for a new ticket, which you can't afford, because you have no money. And if you do have money, go sleep in a hotel. – David Richerby Jul 11 '19 at 9:13
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    Let's not forget that some airports (or sometimes terminals) are just not open overnight. They close after the last flight, and you can't remain there until the next morning. – jcaron Jul 11 '19 at 11:56
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    I realise you said this is a hypothetical situation at present, but, first of all, why would you consider doing this, and why don't you want to take your flight? In addition, assuming you do manage to get in to the secure area and are allowed to stay overnight, what do you plan to do the next day, when you're in the airport's secure area without a usable ticket or, apparently, any money to buy one? – Tom Revell Jul 11 '19 at 12:27
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    and while 7pm is too early for sleeping, it's not too early for hanging around, eating in a restaurant, reading a book etc until it gets late and you can sleep. This whole question makes no sense. – Kate Gregory Jul 11 '19 at 12:29

The answer will potentially depend on a number of factors, including the country and the size of the airport.

From personal experience in the US, I would not expect you to have any issues entering several hours after the flight was scheduled to depart - presuming it was still on the same calendar day, and presuming there were still flights due to depart from the airport that night. I've passed through security in multiple countries (including the US, Japan and the UAE) on multiple occasions with a boarding pass for a flight that was scheduled to depart several hours before I was entering - always without issue.

However it's certainly possible that the security staff will look at the time on the ticket and ask about it. In this case you would have the option of claiming you missed the flight and are going to the customer service desk to get re-routed (but expect to be sent back to the check-in desk instead), or claim that your flight is delayed - odds are the security staff will not bother to confirm this.

If you try and enter after midnight then it will be a different story. I recently entered an airport at around 6am using a boarding pass for a delayed flight from the previous day. The security staff had a (small) list of flights that has been delayed overnight, and confirmed that my flight was on that list before they let me proceed.

Whether what you are suggesting is legal is a different issue altogether, and again will depend on the specific airport. If this was in the US you would be fraudulently accessing the airside area of a federally controlled facility, which is almost certainly illegal in some way or other. Your odds of actually getting caught will, again, depend on the specific location.

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On some airports, it is illegal.

For instance, there is a huge warning displayed that entering secure area without intention for travel is an arrestable offense. Eventhough mannual checks are minimal for the boarding pass, if you do not travel and try to exit airport. They will definitely catch you.

Another instance, almost all Indian airports allow you to enter only with a future ticket and CISF (similar to TSA in US) thoroughly checks the ticket details even before you are allowed to checkin.

For some airports like KLIA, Malaysia, the checking of boarding pass are kind of lax and you will mostly be able to get in without any issues. So, it really depends on country and airport.

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I think it is wrong to assume that airport's airside will always be be a "safe area". The risk of physical violence is certainly diminished because perpetrators have fewer possibilities to escape. However, an airport's airside can be a fertile hunting ground for pick pockets and other thieves: departing passengers are unpacking and repacking their valuables for security screening, transit passengers can be tired and disoriented, and many people are carrying more cash than normal. If you go anywhere in an airport to sleep, take care to secure your belongings.

The airport security staff is there to check for weapons and explosives, not to identify thieves.

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  • I said that is safeR, not that is safe. – user99993 Jul 11 '19 at 13:27
  • The quote was taken from the question's headline. – Richard Beasley Jul 11 '19 at 16:45
  • Here, the airside area is called safe area by airport staff, is a local terminology. This is a assumption that outside is much less safer the inside. – user99993 Jul 11 '19 at 17:00