Once in a while I get posts in my Facebook newsfeed about people complaining that they are denied boarding for being late but can still see their plane on the tarmac.

I guess it is people seeing the plane 'idle' on the tarmac but denied boarding (for being late) that makes them start making assumptions and accusations.

Knowing what goes on behind the scenes might help people appreciate being on time.

What's going on / preventing people from being allowed to run on and take their seat, assuming an air-bridge?

  • This question is not too broad. – Johns-305 Mar 12 '17 at 11:39
  • I was expecting something like the "Flight Planning" in this article: blog.flysafair.co.za/why-you-cant-check-in-late but more detailed, like citing regulations and mentioning things that layman know nothing about. If different airports will have different things going on, that would be even more interesting to know. Sorry, i don't know how to narrow down the question. – Gula Kapas Mar 12 '17 at 11:52
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    For the passenger, the actual deadline is when the manifest is closed, but everyone says 'door'. – Johns-305 Mar 12 '17 at 14:38
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    Something that doesn't seem to have been mentioned is that the flight bridges can cost up to AU$1000 a minute to rent (in Australia with similar elsewhere), with any delay costing the airlines significantly. The fact that luggage has to be put on the plane with a meal for you as well as a print out of the customer manifest, any passenger being late is to cause significant delay in these preparative processes. By the sounds of it, the people on your feed complaining about getting denied boarding (in order to not delay a plane full of people) only have themselves to blame. – The Wandering Coder Mar 13 '17 at 1:48
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    Yes and yes, Coder! That unmentioned fact is among what i was hoping to find! They see themselves as the victim and blame everything else EXCEPT themselves! If only they realized the consequences towards themselves AND others (airlines system, flight schedule, other passengers, etc) for being late, and what would happen if late passengers were allowed to board. I feel sorry for the staff who might have a bad time managing them, and the airline system they're badmouthing about. This is the most i can do for all parties involved. :'( – Gula Kapas Mar 13 '17 at 22:29

In simplest terms, once the boarding is completed and the boarding door closed, a number of pre-flight procedures are started based on the number of people on board. Performance calculations based on weight and balance being an obvious one. Additionally, the final manifests must be transmitted to various Authorities.

Changing the number of people on board requires these procedures to be re-done and that takes time causing everyone, including the other passengers, to wait.

It is also quite possible that the seats assigned to the late arriving passengers have been given to others so there would be no where for them to sit anyway.

For clarity, the staff can return an aircraft to the gate to board additional passengers it's just far too disruptive to do so. They will however return to the gate to deplane a passenger who does not want to fly as that is viewed as a risk on several levels.

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