Each time I have Purchased an airplane ticket (specifically, using a travel agent, though I'm not sure every time was through one) the bottom of the email confirms of my ticket that I receive says something to the effect of "please make sure to re-confrim 72 hours before departure ".

I have always wondered, with whom do I confirm? How do I confirm? What am I confirming?

Never have I re-confirmed and I have yet to run into issues....


Most every airline has the 72 hour reconfirm rule, but most apply it when you break your trip (ie stop over for many days or before your return flight). Most do not expect you to reconfirm your initial departure.

It is a leftover from the golden age of travel, when paper tickets were all there was, reservations went by teletype to foreign airports and offices, when you could swap your ticket for a flight on another airline and change your plans without penalties. In those days they could/would give away your spot if you didn't reconfirm in a timely manner.

Today everything is computerized and penalized, so folks fly on the flight they booked because they don't want to pay the change fees. The 72 hour reconfirm rules are still in most airlines contracts of carriage and appear on eTickets, though they are rarely enforced.

But they do give the airline an out when flight schedules are changed and you complain that you missed your flight ... "well you didn't reconfirm" :p

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    I'm curious about what you mean by "most every airline": I checked a few airline websites. For example, Air Canada, Lufthansa, KLM, Emirates, explicitly mention in their sites that reconfirmation is not necessary. All other airlines I checked (the big american ones, for instance) do not mention reconfirmation at all. Mar 17 '16 at 1:41
  • @MartinArgerami - Have you checked all 260 IATA member airlines? Let me know the statistics and I will be happy to amend my superlatives accordingly.
    – user13044
    Mar 17 '16 at 7:44
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    have you? You assert that "most every airline", and you don't seem to be able to justify it. Could you at least provide some examples of some airlines that do require reconfirmation? The "few" airlines I mentioned in my comment carry some 800 million passengers a year. Mar 17 '16 at 7:50

Call the airline. You're confirming that you still plan to fly. You're also confirming that the flight hasn't been rescheduled--or finding out that it has. In the modern era of online check-in and e-mail flight status updates, confirming is a bit of an anachronism.

I only did it once, and left my ticket at the payphone I'd used for the call. This was immediately before I left on the hours-long trip to the city from which I was flying. My travel agent had to fax the airline office in town (not at the airport) to authorize them to reissue the ticket.


You would have to check with each airline to see if needed. In my experience, most airlines do not require reconfirmation (they do recommend to check that your flight is on time, though), so most likely the phrase is a just a remnant of the old days that your agent still prints.

What you should always do is to access your reservation on the airline's web site to be sure that your flights are booked into their system.

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