Denied boarding by Royal Air Moroc

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Jan 14, 2020
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#1
On the day of our family's anticipated flight from New York to Casablanca, Royal Air Moroc emailed to alert us about a 2.5 hour delay. The email indicated that check-in procedures would conclude according to original departure time, but we figured this did not apply to us as we had already checked in online (a process that included inputting all of our passport details). Upon our arrival to the airport 3 hours before the new departure time, however, we were denied boarding. Agents (quite rudely) told us we had "failed to present during the indicated check-in window" where our passports needed to be visually inspected. The requirement for in-person inspection of our passports was never communicated to us, and was frankly unusual seeing as how visas were not required for this trip and we had already entered our travel document details online. Being denied boarding when standing in the airport 2.5 hours early with boarding pass and passports in hand is definitely a surreal feeling.

Alternative flights were fully booked for the next week out, which forced us to call off the entire trip. Besides the cost of the tour deposit we could no longer join and the taxi fares to and from the airport, the airline is now refusing to waive our cancellation fees amounting to $1227. Are we entitled to this waiver? Are there any other avenues for recourse?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Did you arrive at the airport three hours before your original flight was scheduled to leave? You always have to show your passport for an international flight (and check your luggage).

The computers also lock down an hour before the flight is to depart. If you weren’t there, they couldn’t check you in once those computers lock.

If you didn’t arrive in time, the airline did nothing wrong. You aren’t entitled to a waiver of the fees.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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#3
Dud you arrive at the airport three hours before your flight was scheduled to leave? You always have to show your passport for an international flight (and check your luggage).

The computers also lock down an hour before the flight is to depart. If you weren’t there, they couldn’t check you in once those computers lock.

If you didn’t arrive in time, the airline did nothing wrong. You aren’t entitled to a waiver of the fees.
We were at the airport 3 hours before the new departure time, as indicated by the airline. We had no luggage to check and had already completed online check in procedures.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#4
@Neil Maley the OP stated that he arrived 3 hours before the NEW departure time, not the original departure time.

Unfortunately, you are out of luck. The email stated clearly that you were required to check-in based on the original departure time....the assumption you made about passport inspection was in direct conflict to what the airline alerted you about. Sometimes there is a miscommunication or lack of communication from the airline but, in this case, they were very clear about what was expected of their passengers and you chose to create your own scenario as an exception.

It sounds like you received a refund for the cost of the flights or at least a credit to be used toward another flight in the future?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
We were at the airport 3 hours before the new departure time, as indicated by the airline. We had no luggage to check and had already completed online check in procedures.
Even when a flight is delayed, the original flight time is what you need to go by. The email said to use the original departure time because the computers will lock down.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#6
Airlines will always require checking your travel documents before an international flight. Some require you do to this at the check-in counter before you go through security and some allow their gate agents to check it before the flight starts boarding. I was caught off guard the first time wondering why the gate agent was calling my name - I got worried I was going to be bumped! I'm not sure what happens if you don't present your passport to the agents until boarding - I've never been that late to a flight.

Did you have a boarding pass after checking in online or did you still have to go to the check-in counter upon arrival to get the boarding pass?
 
Jan 14, 2020
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#7
Airlines will always require checking your travel documents before an international flight. Some require you do to this at the check-in counter before you go through security and some allow their gate agents to check it before the flight starts boarding. I was caught off guard the first time wondering why the gate agent was calling my name - I got worried I was going to be bumped! I'm not sure what happens if you don't present your passport to the agents until boarding - I've never been that late to a flight.

Did you have a boarding pass after checking in online or did you still have to go to the check-in counter upon arrival to get the boarding pass?
We already had our boarding passes in hand upon arrival at the airport. We had also entered all of our passport details online as part of the online check-in procedures, and nothing was said about the need for an in-person passport inspection.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Thanks Neil. But what if we had already completed check-in procedures online? We had our boarding passes printed and in hand.
Yes because you weren’t at the desk before the computers locked down with the agents verification your passports were correct and valid.

Once that lockdown happens, no one can override it and allow you to board.

Is this the first time you’ve flown internationally?
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#11
We already had our boarding passes in hand upon arrival at the airport. We had also entered all of our passport details online as part of the online check-in procedures, and nothing was said about the need for an in-person passport inspection.
No, they don't explicitly state that. It's their responsibility to verify that everyone they're flying has valid documents to enter the destination country. You simply typing in the information online is not enough and they require one of their employees to do the verification upon arrival at the airport. Given that you had a boarding pass, in my experience that means the agent at the gate has the ability to verify your documentation. However, based on what Neil said it seems there's still a time window in which they need to complete the verification (based on the originally scheduled time) and you missed it.

BTW - Even though they notified you of a delay, things could have changed and they could have taken off on schedule leaving you behind. This goes for domestic flights as well. Someone was on this forum not too long ago that missed their flight thinking they delay was final & permanent. It wasn't.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#12
… The email indicated that check-in procedures would conclude according to original departure time, but we figured this did not apply to us as we had already checked in online (a process that included inputting all of our passport details). Upon our arrival to the airport 3 hours before the new departure time, however, we were denied boarding. Agents (quite rudely) told us we had "failed to present during the indicated check-in window" where our passports needed to be visually inspected. The requirement for in-person inspection of our passports was never communicated to us, and was frankly unusual seeing as how visas were not required for this trip and we had already entered our travel document details online. Being denied boarding when standing in the airport 2.5 hours early with boarding pass and passports in hand is definitely a surreal feeling./QUOTE]

To be blunt.... you were told to check in procedures would conclude according to original departure time. So, I can't see how the airline was at fault here.

A kindly worded letter may give you additional compensation, but it is what it is.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
You were not denied boarding as you were not properly checked in and at the gate at boarding time.

Airlines can be fined for not checking passport validity and someone landing without proper documentation. I could enter the passport number of someone else and the computer would not know which is why visual inspection is needed. And as mentioned the computer locks up.

You are not fully checked in without the passport verification.

What is the problem is that the email gave instruction to show up on time and that was ignored or thought not to apply to you without even calling the airline.

You were not bumped from the flight. You showed up too late to complete the full check in process.

I have to do the same thing with European airlines where there is no visa or esta required (for now).

I am sorry this happened but there is no recourse. The airline does not owe you compensation.
You are not entitled to a waiver of fees especially when the info from the airline was clear that one had to show up at normal check in time. You said the agent was rude— well the agent was likely surprised that someone thought that the rules did not apply to them.
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#14
When you fly international someone from the airline must inspect your passport even if you check in online. It makes sense because theoretically you could input someone else's passport details. The airline must complete this process before the check in window closes and they submit the passenger manifest to the various authorities. Like other posters said, once the check in window closes, the computers lock down and no one has the authority to override them.

When the airline announces that a flight departure is delayed by a certain amount of time, never assume that the delay is absolute and adjust your schedule. There are many reasons for a delay and sometimes things can be resolved in a timely manner and the flight departs sooner than the estimated delay time. This is why the airline will still advise you to plan to arrive at the airport in time for the original departure schedule.
 
Nov 27, 2019
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#15
On the day of our family's anticipated flight from New York to Casablanca, Royal Air Moroc emailed to alert us about a 2.5 hour delay. The email indicated that check-in procedures would conclude according to original departure time, but we figured this did not apply to us as we had already checked in online (a process that included inputting all of our passport details). Upon our arrival to the airport 3 hours before the new departure time, however, we were denied boarding. Agents (quite rudely) told us we had "failed to present during the indicated check-in window" where our passports needed to be visually inspected. The requirement for in-person inspection of our passports was never communicated to us, and was frankly unusual seeing as how visas were not required for this trip and we had already entered our travel document details online. Being denied boarding when standing in the airport 2.5 hours early with boarding pass and passports in hand is definitely a surreal feeling.

Alternative flights were fully booked for the next week out, which forced us to call off the entire trip. Besides the cost of the tour deposit we could no longer join and the taxi fares to and from the airport, the airline is now refusing to waive our cancellation fees amounting to $1227. Are we entitled to this waiver? Are there any other avenues for recourse?

When you checked in online, did the system issue you boarding passes?
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#16
Flight delays are not written in stone and I never count on them for extra time. I was flying from Salt Lake City to Chicago and we were delayed due to weather by 30 minutes then 60 then 90 then 2 hours then 3 hours. I decided to wander away to get something to eat when all of a sudden the weather lifted or something and they began making frantic announcements for our flight to get back to the gate and board the plane and we took off. Some people had left the gate area assuming that the delay was a done deal; some people had begun to try to make other arrangements; some people had left the airport altogether thinking that they weren't going to get out that night. Our 3 hr anticipated delay ended up being less than an hour.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
20,324
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
When you checked in online, did the system issue you boarding passes?
Yes it did but they didn’t think arriving three hours before the original flight took off applied to them and it seems by the time they arrived, check in was closed and the system locked. Thus the gate agent couldn’t verify that the passport information was correct and mark them in the system.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,949
9,564
113
San Francisco
#18
I am so sorry you had to learn this very expensive lesson about checking in for an international flight that has been delayed. I've always thought all these alerts do more harm than good. If you have to be there at the original time, why are they telling you about a delay now? It does confuse many travellers. The airline was very clear about using the original departure time for pax. My colleagues have given you all the various reasons. When you receive a communication from an airline, never assume that it doesn't apply to you. If you think it might not apply, call the airline right away.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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#19
I am so sorry you had to learn this very expensive lesson about checking in for an international flight that has been delayed. I've always thought all these alerts do more harm than good. If you have to be there at the original time, why are they telling you about a delay now? It does confuse many travellers. The airline was very clear about using the original departure time for pax. My colleagues have given you all the various reasons. When you receive a communication from an airline, never assume that it doesn't apply to you. If you think it might not apply, call the airline right away.
Yes, the alerts can be confusing and lead to errors like the OP's. It would be better if the airlines said (if anything) that the flight MIGHT be delayed, then stress the importance of arriving as originally scheduled.
 
Likes: jsn55