A PASSENGER who arrived at the airport in plenty of time ended up missing his flight after the plane took off ahead of schedule.
Utah-based musician Matt Mascarenas was travelling from Manchester Airport to Philadelphia last month on a 10:05am American Airlines flight.
He told The Northern Quota that he arrived at the airport at 7:30am before getting to his gate at around 9.35am after browsing duty free shops.
Despite getting to the gate 30 minutes before his flight was scheduled to depart, Matt explained how the gate agent snapped “it’s too late” and he wasn’t allowed to board the flight.
The flight, which was scheduled to leave at 10.05am, actually departed at 9:43am – 22 minutes early.
An American Airlines representative told the NQ that they have a “30 minute cut off” to ensure passengers keep their flight seats, which was why he was denied boarding.
However, the rules on the airline’s website state: “Most flights start boarding 30 – 50 minutes before scheduled departure.”
If passengers get to the gate “less than 10 minutes before departure”, then the doors would be closed and they wouldn’t be allowed to board the flight.
The website also warns that if passengers don’t arrive before the final 30 minutes before departure, the airline “may reassign your seat to another passenger.”
All this meant that by arriving at 9.35am, Matt should have been allowed to board the flight.
However, Matt explained: “They didn’t say anything about the flight being full. They just said it’s too late.”
If the flight was full, then this would mean the passenger should have had his flights re-booked by the airline under EU law, and he should not be forced to pay for a new flight.
However, an anonymous American Airlines source told NQ that the flight was not full, and his seat was not assigned to another passenger.
They also explained how the airline officially closed boarding at 9:51am, which was after Matt was told the plane had stopped boarding.
Matt was initially told his flights would cost another £1,400, although was eventually able to re-book his flights for $303 (£230) after speaking to customer services.
An American Airlines spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We apologise to Mr. Mascarenas for the inconvenience he experienced.
“We are investigating further and are in touch with the customer’s attorney.”
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