What Happens If You Don’T Show Up For a Flight? ( A Compete Guide )

Imagine this, you are at the airport and your name gets announced over the public address system (PA), asking you to go to the gate without delay, but you are not even at the airport !! what will happen if you don’t show up to the flight?

Each airline has its own policy, but generally If you don’t show up for a flight, you may get a partial refund, rebook another flight or pay a cancellation fee, but if you do it on purpose and without notifying the airline many times, you shouldn’t expect any refund and your ticket will be considered invalid.

keep reading to know what happens if you don’t show up for a flight.

Let’s kick things off and explain.

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Here Is What Will Happen If You Don’t Show Up For Your Flight.

A lot of it will depend on why you have not showed up for your flight. It will also depend on the airline. If you have not turned up at the airport ( and have not told the airline ), then nothing will happen.

You’re unlikely to get a refund and connecting flights will be canceled, but there won’t be any massive consequences.

If you’ve checked in, things get a bit more complicated, especially if you have turned up at the airport (remember, online check-in is a thing!). How the airline chooses to handle this will depend on its policy.

More expensive airlines tend to be much more accommodating than their cheaper counterparts.

If you don’t turn up at the gate for a flight that you have checked in for, then the following will happen:

  • Your name will be announced at the airport. The airline will ask you to come to the gate as soon as possible.
  • Eventually, the airline will close the gates. If you are not at the gate by that time, you can’t travel on that flight. You may be able to rebook, but this can cost money.
  • If you have luggage on the aircraft, it will be removed. This may delay the trip for everybody on the aircraft. This luggage will be returned to you, but in some cases it can travel without you.

There may be a few other issues, but these depend on the airline.

Any Flights on Your Itinerary May Be Canceled 

If there is a connecting flight on your trip, this will be canceled. So, you can’t just hop on the next plane to your destination and get on the already arranged connecting flight.

You’ll need to make a whole other new booking.

You May Be Added To The Airline’s ‘No Fly’ List

This is rare. However, there are some airlines that operate a ‘no fly’ list for people that are consistently not showing up for their flights.

While it is rare that you will be added to a ‘no fly’ list if you miss just one or two flights, don’t make it a regular occurrence.

This is much more likely to happen with the cheaper airlines. This is because the cheaper airlines don’t make cash on the ticket.

They make cash on what happens ‘on the plane’ e.g., selling food & drink. So, they would rather not sell tickets to the guys that do not show up.

It is also much more likely to happen if you book multi-legged flights to save money. It isn’t illegal to do that, but airlines hate it when people skip the last leg of a multi-leg flight.

So, they try to ban anybody that consistently does it.

You May Not Get Your Flight Reimbursed

Most airlines have a bit of leeway here. You should never expect to get a refund when you don’t show up for a flight, but it can happen. It depends on the reasons why you haven’t shown up.

If you simply decided to not turn up, or you overslept, then chances are the airline won’t refund you.

They won’t rebook you on the next flight at a discounted price either.

If you are not showing up for serious issues e.g.:

Serious travel issues i.e., major accidents on the roads to the airport, flat tire, etc. and even Long queues at check-in / through security.

Most airlines have a flat tire policy, which means that if you are heading to the airport and you encounter a flat tire or any other related issue, like a traffic jam, an accident or other unexpected events, you are eligible for a refund or to get a new flight.

However; you should not always expect a refund or a discount from any airline even if you don’t miss your flight on purpose.

Ensure that you read their refund policies, before booking with them, especially those sneaky budget airlines.


If you have a serious illness the day of your flight, and can’t get into the airport or catch the flight, then. you can get a refund or schedule another flight.

For example in the COVID 19 period, many passengers missed their flight because of testing positive, and the airlines either refund them or reschedule their flights.

Death of somebody close to you

If you lose someone close to you, a family member for example, you have the right to get the full refund.

The airline may need some kind of proof so that they get convinced.

And they will tell you what type of document they will need.

You may be able to get your flight reimbursed. It’s still not guaranteed, but every airline does have a policy in place to help.

If they can’t reimburse you, they’ll at least be able to help you book a different flight, often at a discount.

If you want a bigger chance of your flight being reimbursed, then we suggest that you call the airline before the flight.

They love it when you give them a heads-up as it means that they have a better chance of being able to rebook that seat, ensuring that they don’t make a loss on your no-show.

Make sure that it is well in advance, though. We are talking hours, if not days. Calling 10-30 minutes before a flight is not ‘in advance’.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t illegal to not show up for a flight, and In most cases, nothing will happen. Sure, you won’t receive a refund on your flight ( the booking will be canceled ), but you aren’t going to be dealing with major issues.

If you have checked in for the flight but don’t show up, then this could cause problems e.g., luggage being removed from the aircraft, name being announced over the airport announcement system, getting added to a no-fly list for the airline, etc.

If you are not able to show up for a flight, we suggest that you give the airline a call. Let them know the reasons.

If your reasons are valid (i.e., they are not just ‘I don’t feel like turning up’). There is a good chance that the airline will assist you.

This means providing you with a refund (even if it is only partial) or booking you onto a later flight. 

Flight No Show FAQ

Do you get charged if you miss a flight?

If you don’t show up to your flight on purpose, you will not get compensated and you will not even get a discount if you want to book another flight.
However; it will mostly depend on the airline you are flying with, as most of the airlines lose money when passengers miss or don’t show up for a flight on purpose.

What happens if you miss your return flight?

If you miss your return flight, then your current ticket is not valid anymore (and you will need to contact the airline to find out if they are going to reimburse you ), you will need another ticket, but if you have a round trip ticket and you miss your outbound flight you can still use the return ticket.

can you skip the first leg of a flight?

No, you can’t skip the first leg of a flight, and if you do that the rest of the flight is invalid, so you can’t board the airplane in the second airport.

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