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This morning, in an Italian international airport, I was in line to board a Ryanair flight. Since the line wasn't moving (they were probably waiting for an empty bus), I went to the toilette where there was a line too, but I stayed there.

I came back to the gate in no rush because my flight was still "Boarding" on the screens. When I got to the gate, the steward raised her eyes from the screen and looked at me; at that time the screen updated to "Boarding closed"...she closed the gate just before I got there!

I argued with her (an airport employee, unrelated to Ryanair) that she never passed to "Last Call" on the screens or made any PA before closing the gate. She replied: "in this airport, we don't make any last call for Ryanair because they don't pay us for this service" (same words, but in Italian!).

I didn't even try to make her open the gate again because I know it's almost impossible, so I just asked for a piece of paper where someone from the airport declares that "they never make any last call for Ryanair" but no one wanted to write it. So, I suppose it is something they do but they know they shouldn't.

Is there any rule about the last call? Is it mandatory somehow or is it just a service from the airline/airport?

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  • How long before departure did you appear at the gate? Aug 23 at 16:45
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    It was 15/20 mins before the scheduled departure but the plane was also slightly late, anyway just after the gate there still was the line of people waiting to catch the bus so, last person which went through the gate was no more than a minute before. They basically just emptied the line and closed the gate.
    – Matte.Car
    Aug 23 at 16:51
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    as you may know, at many airports now they explicitly do not make any PA calls regarding flights.
    – Fattie
    Aug 24 at 12:42
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    >but the plane was slightly late< If the plane was late, they're still going to try to cram everyone on in time to make the current departure, not just let the delay trickle down. Especially if it's a big/crowded airport, they can't just use the runway whenever they want, if they miss their scheduled departure time it's going to be very, very expensive: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/35315/… Aug 24 at 19:02
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    Also, Ryanair is notoriously cheap - not just in their low pricing, but also in how they try to cut expenses everywhere. I suppose this is a case of getting exactly what you paid for.
    – Shadur
    Aug 25 at 8:04
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No, they are not mandatory. These calls are nothing but reminder calls, you know the time and you know the limits and that's what counts.

You most likely have checked a "I agree to terms" checkbox during your reservation which means you agreed on the following:

Boarding closes 20 minutes before departure. Please have your valid travel document and boarding pass ready at the boarding gate.

and

Advisory Please be advised that we cannot delay other passengers who arrived at the boarding gate on time, so passengers arriving late at the boarding gate will not be accepted for travel. For travel on a later flight, you will be required to purchase a new ticket at the applicable fare.

Unlike what you think, gate closing has a procedure that does not involve the gate agents only. When the decision to close the gate is taken (usually automated and then the message is passed to the crew by the ground personnel), pilots and cabin crew are informed and they have a checklist to perform, which includes closing the doors, ensuring passengers are seated and everyone got a seat, locking lavatory doors and other ground duties, etc. etc. It is not as easy as you think. Also, the gate agent would have not been able to scan your boarding pass if the boarding was closed in the system.

Gate lines can be tricky sometimes, one minute they are a mile long, and the next minute everyone is inside the plane.

22

They are more likely to make "last call" announcements if you have checked luggage, as they need to take if off the plane if you don't board and that usually takes even longer. Full-service airlines also usually make calls, especially if you're a frequent flyer or premium class passenger and/or they somehow know you are in the airport (e.g. you arrived from a connecting flight), or if this is a long-haul flight or feeder flight to a long-haul flight they know you are connecting to.

But if you're not at the gate at the required time, they have no obligation to wait for you or make any announcements. They mostly do it for their own convenience and that of other passengers (some airlines and airports get to "final calls" very, very early, just to get you to hurry up, especially in airports where it can take a while to get to the gate), though that is usually through displays rather than spoken announcements.

Many airports explicitly state they don't make any announcements (especially larger airports where it would just be a permanent flow of announcements).

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  • Also at an international airport, there is no guarantee that an announcement would be in your native language, and certainly no guarantee that you would understand it even if it was in you native language but mangled by a non-native speaker.
    – alephzero
    Aug 24 at 22:12
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    Re: some airlines and airports get to "final calls" very, very early, just to get you to hurry up - I recall a long time ago once panicking when I saw "final call" on screens in the main departure lounge, rushing to the gate, only to find a huge queue to get to the gate and they'd not even scanned a single boarding pass. Of course, on subsequent trips, I knew that "final call" meant nothing of the sort, at least at that airport...!
    – Steve
    Aug 25 at 13:36
  • @alephzero Not in your native language - aren't announcements also made in English in all airports nowadays? Aug 26 at 13:06
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    @vikingsteve Some airports are 'quiet' in that there are NO announcements in any language. You miss the boarding time, you miss the plane. I seem to remember Schipol (Netherlands) is one of them.
    – Neil
    Aug 26 at 14:03

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