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I was reading this article. In it the author says -

  1. Not checking and double checking

A hard and fast rule I have learned over the years is to double check everything. Just because the gate agent said your connecting gate is B6 does not mean it has not changed. Just because an airline ticket agent says the flight is full and no room to standby, does not mean that other passengers might be late, opening up seats. Just because someone says you cannot get a free hotel room due to an overnight flight delay does not mean that said person was misinformed or unclear on the rules. Never pester and always be polite, but just because someone says something is so, does not always mean it is so. At airports, it seems people are more eager to tell you something to move you along rather than to genuinely be right. - aviationrepublic.com

Now here the author sort of contradicts himself saying that you should not pester and yet double-check things. How is a person supposed to double-check without appear obtrusive/pestering ?

Update - I was thinking about this -

Just because an airline ticket agent says the flight is full and no room to standby, does not mean that other passengers might be late, opening up seats. - aviationrepublic.com

Now either the author didn't think this one through or what is he trying to say here ? Is s/he talking about the scenario where you bought the tickets say a week or two ago and now you come to know that it's been overbooked and you hang around hoping to see someone cancelling and hence you get a seat on the plane or is s/he talking about something else entirely ?

  • I think what the author is describing is more like "if you're hoping to standby for a flight (as in you do not already have a confirmed seat), then don't just give up, wait at the gate area and ask again if there is space once people have boarded before the flight closes. For most questions, you can simply double-check with other available sources of information: the TV monitors at the airport, the airline's website or app, the signs at the gate, etc... If all three say I'm at the right gate for flight #1234 to New York, I normally don't need to ask the agent if I'm in the right place too. – Zach Lipton Dec 9 '16 at 21:29
  • (Of course, if some set of circumstances means that I don't trust the information I've been given, such as if the gate is changing or one of the sources of information doesn't match, then it's a good idea to ask and make sure.) – Zach Lipton Dec 9 '16 at 21:30
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    It's like this, asking every 5 minutes if a seat has opened up is pestering. Politely confirming, once, that you are on the standby list is double checking. As noted above, most of what people need to know is displayed at the gate or elsewhere in the terminal. – Johns-305 Dec 9 '16 at 21:39
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Generally speaking:

You double check with a different source. This makes the most sense anyway; it's unlikely that the answer will change if you ask the same person again (especially immediately). For example, if the counter staff tells you your gate is B6, double check by going and looking at the departures board.

Failing a self-service option, ask a different staff member if possible. Just be sure to ask someone who might reasonably know: the security guard is unlikely to know about flight rerouting options. If you do need to ask the same person again, just be sure to remain polite and patient. Airports are busy places and there's rarely enough customer facing staff to go around.

For something which changes frequently / is time sensitive, such as passengers not showing up and seats opening:

Ask to be put on a wait or standby list as soon as possible, and provide contact information in case you don't hear a page. Airlines want to sell tickets and fill seats, so rest assured that if you're on the list and a spot opens they'll try to inform you. Check again with an agent shortly before the flight or you are about to leave, to verify that there's really nothing available. Do your best to be patient and realize that you might not be able to get on the flight.

  • have updated my query, hope it makes better sense. – shirish Dec 9 '16 at 21:10

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