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Tight Connection in HKG - Denied Boarding Because Bags Misconnect

Tight Connection in HKG - Denied Boarding Because Bags Misconnect

Old Jul 31, 19, 8:25 pm
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Tight Connection in HKG - Denied Boarding Because Bags Misconnect

My friend is connecting from KA to UA at HKG; her KA flight was super-delayed so a 3 hour connection turned into a 40 minute connection. She made it to the gate in time, but they denied her boarding because the bags did not make it. I have never heard of this rule. The last UA flight out is in a little over an hour; does anyone know anything in particular about this? The Gate Agents are telling her to talk to Cathay because it's their fault regarding the delay. I've told her to try again with the agents in the United Club.


Note: She had been upgraded to J, so this hurts a lot.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:32 pm
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The late delivering carrier is responsible for rebooking her to her next stopover, IATA norm.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:36 pm
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I presume this was all one one ticket? Was she already checked in for the United flight (with a boarding pass)? If so, Iíve never heard of this, but if not she didnít make the 60 minute Check-in requirement. Passenger bag match isnít required when the luggage flies separately but the passenger didnít cause it.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by villox View Post
I presume this was all one one ticket? Was she already checked in for the United flight (with a boarding pass)? If so, Iíve never heard of this, but if not she didnít make the 60 minute Check-in requirement. Passenger bag match isnít required when the luggage flies separately but the passenger didnít cause it.
Yes, this is one ticket. Yes, she had her boarding pass (Cathay printed before first flight). It's 016 stock. Is there any help to be had by a different set of ears?

I am trying to see if we can get her onto the ORD flight - it leaves in an hour. I have suggested talking to people in the United Club.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The late delivering carrier is responsible for rebooking her to her next stopover, IATA norm.
So even if she is fully checked in, at the gate, they still deny people?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 31, 19 at 9:29 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jul 31, 19, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
She made it to the gate in time
What's "in time?"

Given the 40 minutes you quoted, I suspect she meant "before the plane departed," which is not "in time." Nor, necessarily, is "before the doors closed." She needed to be at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure for an international flight.

While it's correct that positive passenger-bag match does not apply when the separation isn't caused by the passenger, UA is still within their rights to mark her as a no-show if she wasn't there at T-30. (If there was an upgrade list, you can rest assured that #1 on the list was counting down the seconds to T-30, also).
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Old Jul 31, 19, 9:08 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
What's "in time?"

Given the 40 minutes you quoted, I suspect she meant "before the plane departed," which is not "in time." Nor, necessarily, is "before the doors closed." She needed to be at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure for an international flight.

While it's correct that positive passenger-bag match does not apply when the separation isn't caused by the passenger, UA is still within their rights to mark her as a no-show if she wasn't there at T-30. (If there was an upgrade list, you can rest assured that #1 on the list was counting down the seconds to T-30, also).
I'm not actually sure the exact moment she arrived, but it seems highly likely she arrived under the T-30. Of course, that wasn't what was quoted to her (she was told shec couldn't be separated from her bags). So if she had arrived 31 minutes before departure, she would have supposed to have been boarded?

The EWR flight went out with open seats in J...

From UA.com (https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...t/process.html)

When do I need to be at the boarding gate?

For flights within the U.S., all customers must be on board the aircraft 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. We recommend being at the boarding gate at least 15 minutes before departure to ensure that youíre on the aircraft before the doors are closed.

For international flights, we encourage you to be at the gate no later than 30 minutes before your scheduled departure. If you are departing from the following airports, please be advised that you are required to be at the gate at a specific time before departure, as additional security or documentation checks may be required:
HKG is not one of the other airports. I don't see anywhere it says you are required to be at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 9:13 pm
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
So if she had arrived 31 minutes before departure, she would have supposed to have been boarded?
Yes, and there's a good chance she would have been. (They would have had plenty of time to get her bags on at that point anyway).

Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
The EWR flight went out with open seats in J...
Ouch. Then the GA wouldn't have even had to deal with downgrading anybody.

Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
HKG is not one of the other airports. I don't see anywhere it says you are required to be at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure.
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...-carriage.html

Rule 5(D)2(b):

Check-In Time Limits - UA has the right to cancel reservations (whether or not confirmed), deny boarding and/or refuse the acceptance of checked baggage of any Passenger who fails to present himself/herself within the applicable check-in or loading gate time limits for Passengers and/or Baggage.
...
All non-stop International flights (including flights departing Guam and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands):
...
All Passengers must be at the loading gate for boarding at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
EXCEPTIONS: Within the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Brussels, Belgium, Passengers must be at the loading gate for boarding at least 60 minutes (1 hour) prior to scheduled departure.
They should update the page you linked.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 9:23 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Yes, and there's a good chance she would have been. (They would have had plenty of time to get her bags on at that point anyway).

Ouch. Then the GA wouldn't have even had to deal with downgrading anybody.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...-carriage.html

Rule 5(D)2(b):

They should update the page you linked.
Well that is a super-useful piece of information; I'm not sure I knew about that 30 minute requirement. I am assuming that UA is significantly more forgiving of itineraries on UA and partners?

As far as my friend, Cathay rebooked her via LAX; and she managed to convince them to upgrade her to J to LAX.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
Well that is a super-useful piece of information; I'm not sure I knew about that 30 minute requirement. I am assuming that UA is significantly more forgiving of itineraries on UA and partners?
When the incoming flight is on UA, they'd have easier access to information about when the passenger is expected to arrive, but otherwise I don't know how much of a difference it makes. I'll withhold judgment on how surprised I am until we find out whether your friend arrived at T-29 or T-11, but the GA's statement doesn't really make a lot of sense. The reason for the 30 minute cutoff isn't to prevent people from arriving without their luggage; it's to give UA time to get their luggage off of the plane when they no-show.

That said, the positive passenger-bag match rule is widely misunderstood. It's entirely possible that the agent could have boarded your friend but didn't know it was allowed.

Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
As far as my friend, Cathay rebooked her via LAX; and she managed to convince them to upgrade her to J to LAX.
Definitely could have been worse.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
When the incoming flight is on UA, they'd have easier access to information about when the passenger is expected to arrive, but otherwise I don't know how much of a difference it makes. I'll withhold judgment on how surprised I am until we find out whether your friend arrived at T-29 or T-11, but the GA's statement doesn't really make a lot of sense. The reason for the 30 minute cutoff isn't to prevent people from arriving without their luggage; it's to give UA time to get their luggage off of the plane when they no-show.
So I got the exasperated "they are not letting me board" text at T-14. She said she was there "about 10 minutes" before she texted me. Apparently they super-expedited her through security from the connecting KA flight to try to get her onboard.

Either way, that puts the likely window somewhere between T-25 and T-18. Not a great look for UA.

Last edited by OhioExile; Jul 31, 19 at 10:40 pm Reason: typo
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Old Aug 1, 19, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
Well that is a super-useful piece of information; I'm not sure I knew about that 30 minute requirement. I am assuming that UA is significantly more forgiving of itineraries on UA and partners?
I must say I too was unaware not this rule. This 30 minute deadline is also not reflected on the boarding pass of several international flights I have taken so have in many occasions strolled to the gate at T-20 to avoid the crowd and standing in line to board (assuming I choose not to board early). Indeed I was on a UA flight yesterday from an international origin and the boarding ends time is 15 min before departure. Also I don't get how check in time is up to T-60 if gate closed T-30. Many international airports if you get to check in desk at T-63, it would be impossible to complete check-in, get through security and immigration and then be at the gate by T-30.

Certainly the rule exists but is likely there just to protect the airline in situations like this, where they advertently or inadvertently deny a passenger boarding, as opposed to being an operational rule. Very likely some other reason (other than being under 30 mins) exists for the denied boarding. They probably just didn't think she could make the connection and just closed the flight early.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 8:48 am
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If she has been checked in then the UA flight DCS at the Gate would show that he has been checked in for the flight. It would also show that she has bags. The positive baggage reconciliation is actually the other way about. Bags do not travel if the passenger misses the flight. It is not that the passenger does not travel if the baggage misses the flight. In this case there would be a lot of passengers not traveling on each flight or certainly many flights.
In my experience the 30 mins is usually to correlate the number of passengers and the actual boarded figures. Also if any passenger did not turn up at the Gate then the baggage will be offloaded and hence the aircraft can still keep to the push back slot.
This is the first time I have heard is also but UA may have new set of rules now.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
So I got the exasperated "they are not letting me board" text at T-14. She said she was there "about 10 minutes" before she texted me. Apparently they super-expedited her through security from the connecting KA flight to try to get her onboard.

Either way, that puts the likely window somewhere between T-25 and T-18. Not a great look for UA.
But she gets to fly Cathay in J *and* earning UA miles on ORC, I say it's a win-win.

Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
I must say I too was unaware not this rule. This 30 minute deadline is also not reflected on the boarding pass of several international flights I have taken so have in many occasions strolled to the gate at T-20 to avoid the crowd and standing in line to board (assuming I choose not to board early). Indeed I was on a UA flight yesterday from an international origin and the boarding ends time is 15 min before departure. Also I don't get how check in time is up to T-60 if gate closed T-30. Many international airports if you get to check in desk at T-63, it would be impossible to complete check-in, get through security and immigration and then be at the gate by T-30.

Certainly the rule exists but is likely there just to protect the airline in situations like this, where they advertently or inadvertently deny a passenger boarding, as opposed to being an operational rule. Very likely some other reason (other than being under 30 mins) exists for the denied boarding. They probably just didn't think she could make the connection and just closed the flight early.
Hence why they tell you to be at the airport 2-3 hours early to complete check-in procedures for international flights.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by OhioExile View Post
Either way, that puts the likely window somewhere between T-25 and T-18. Not a great look for UA.
You're subject to offloading at T-30. Anyone who travels frequently should know this. That said, with empty J seats, sounds like the GAs were unnecessarily overaggressive.

I will add that with CX at HKG I've gotten used to showing up at the gate around 15 minutes prior to departure. They would never offload a J pax in this situation. It's a completely different attitude from UA.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:29 am
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I’m confused. Unless they have already finished the boarding process, how would anyone know who is at the gate at T30 if you’re checked in. What if you wanted to board last?

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