When a flight is about to board, many people queue at the gate long before it opens, even though seat numbers have already been assigned.

What disadvantages are there in sitting until the gate is about to close?

Is there a risk of being bumped off a flight?

  • Not applicable to Ryanair, but other airlines sometimes give out free newspapers at the door. Earlier passengers get first pick!
    – Gnubie
    Aug 9, 2015 at 0:30

3 Answers 3


In principle, overbooking does not happen in Ryanair and most LCCs.

There might be other reasons but one of them is to assure that you take your hand luggage with you. Ryanair charges extra for checked-in luggage therefore almost everyone carries hand luggage. This used to be a problem because there is not enough space inside the cabin for everyone to put their luggage. Currently, hand-luggage that does not fit goes to the cargo hold. They usually start distributing the tags to put the luggage on the cargo hold among the last persons in the queue.

If you want to be sure your luggage flyes with you the only way is to queue early (or buy the priority boarding).

If your luggage goes into the cargo hold under these conditions you don't need to pay extra. You deliver the luggage when you walk to the airplane.

NOTE: currently Ryanair charges to take hand-luggage (that doesn't fit under the chair) inside the cabin. Only a limited amount of hand luggage is allowed. The process became predictable and you will allways take the luggage inside if you paid.

  • 1
    Thanks, nsn. Do these passengers need to pay for luggage put in the hold for this reason?
    – Gnubie
    Jun 18, 2015 at 14:19
  • I updated the answer. No, you don't pay extra.
    – nsn
    Jun 18, 2015 at 14:21
  • 3
    Also, if you do get to keep your carry-on luggage, it still happens that there isn't enough space left for it in the overhead storage room in the cabin, and you have to keep it at your feet or so. Still helps to be first. Jun 18, 2015 at 14:28

There is no risk (or negligible risk) of being offloaded.

There is a risk your bag will have to be stowed or put far away from you on the aircraft, which many people find irritating.

I think most people get impatient, nervous or anxious when they see the flight is close to boarding—and simply do not want to sit any more. Either they join a queue or make a queue, or they form into an unsightly mass as close as possible to the gate. If a small number of people do it, then everyone else begins to follow. It is some kind of instinct many people have.

Some people have rather unpleasant terms for this phenomenon ("gate lice" I have heard).

  • Yes, it's always fun to see. I come to the gate late, all seats occupied, so I have to stand up for some minutes, until they announce that they'll start boarding, and then suddenly I have 30+ seats to sit down and read while the others queue, and fifteen or so minutes later I stroll through boarding just before they close the gate.
    – Alexander
    Jun 19, 2015 at 7:41
  • @Alexander I have the same policy, but I sit in the lounge until boarding is nearly closed. :)
    – Calchas
    Jun 19, 2015 at 7:44
  • the airports I fly from have no lounge that is free for cheap-fare airline passengers.
    – Alexander
    Jun 19, 2015 at 7:52
  • I enjoy boarding early, organizing my in-flight stuff at a window seat, putting my noise-canceling headphones on, and watching the other passengers struggle with their oversized bags, tripping over each other, and trying to find places for their luggage and duty-free purchases in the overhead racks. Jan 26, 2016 at 15:38

I have traveled with Ryan air so many times (non EU citizen) and this is what i would answer.

  1. If you are not EU citizen, you have to stand in queue to get your passport checked, if not you will be denied boarding at the gates.

  2. Most ryan air flights are crowded during weekends, so if you board at the end of the queue, either you will have no free seats (forced to pay 10 euro to take priority seats) or no space to put your hand luggage up above.

The only thing i like with ryan air is that you can sit anywhere (seats not alloted), unlike other commercial airlines, where you will need to spend time searching for seats. of course, I would be happy to wait in queue if i could fly for 40 euros or less. If you are flyer with ryan air for the first time, be sure to check your hand luggage within their prescribed dimension limits.

  • 1
    The OP is specifically talking about flights with preassigned seats. Jun 18, 2015 at 15:40
  • 1
    Also, Ryanair has been allocating seats like every other airline for over a year now. Jun 18, 2015 at 16:08
  • As mentioned by another user Ryanair is also using allocated seats now but even before then you wouldn't have had to pay extra for a priority seat that doesn't even exist. You may have had to seat over an exit seat and given a short notice from the crew about evacuation but you would not pay more and your Ryanair-specific comments on dimensions also applies to all other airlines.
    – connersz
    Jun 19, 2015 at 8:47

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