On Friday I booked a flight with AirBerlin and paid with PayPal. The ticket was issued correctly (I received the booking and ticket numbers and an invoice) but they payment has been stuck in Pending state in PayPal since then (I paid with a prepaid card from my bank linked to my PayPal account).

Today I called the airline to make sure everything was okay and they told me they received the money, to not worry and to wait for PayPal to refresh the status of the payment.

So I called PayPal and they told me the amount had only been authorized but the payment had never been completed.

Called again the airline with the info from PayPal but they said the same thing as the first time.

Also PayPal told me it could take up to a month before the authorized amount is unblocked from my card.

I'm worried that if nothing changes when the authorization expires and the money is unfrozen the booking will be cancelled and at that point a ticket might cost a lot more.

Has anyone been in this situation before? What do you suggest?

  • If you have a ticket number, you can relax. The airline considers the transaction completed.
    – Calchas
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 13:00
  • 1
    It was finally completed today :) Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 13:40
  • 2
    I have bought rail tickets and paid by paypal and it took about 2 months for the money to be taken from my connected bank account. But for the railroad the ticket was paid the moment the authorization was approved.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:53
  • I would like to know how this situation ended? How long did it take the airline to charge your credit card?
    – Mina Wissa
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 20:43
  • it was charged the day after and didn't have any more problems since Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Try getting a ticket number from the airline. There's a "booking number" (usually 6 letters/numbers, e.g. ABCXYZ), and there's a "ticket number" (usually a long set of numbers, e.g. 013987654321). The ticket is typically issued after the booking is made and payment has been accepted, and it's an official contract between you and the airline, so once you have a ticket number you can be much more confident that you'll actually get onto the flight.

  • 1
    I have a ticket number and a booking number, the reservation looks totally legit. I'm worried about what's going to happen once the authorization expires in a week if the payment is not completed by then Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 9:31
  • 1
    If you have a ticket number already, then technically it's the airline's problem now if the payment doesn't go through (as far as I know, I might be wrong, I didn't look into the legal aspect of this in detail).
    – Eugene O
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:42

Authorized payments are as good as completed. I buy a lot of goods online with a prepaid credit cards and the seller always ships my items when the payment is still in "authorized" state.

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