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How Long Do Planes Wait For Late Passengers?

Have you ever been running through the airport at the last minute, praying that your plane won’t leave without you? It turns out, you might have less to worry about than you think: How long do planes wait for late passengers? In this blog post, we’ll explore the answer—and hopefully put your mind at ease!

Airline Protocols for Late Passengers


When a passenger arrives late for their flight, airlines employ different protocols depending on the specific situation. In many cases, the airline will make efforts to ensure the passenger isn’t denied boarding. This could include delaying or holding a flight at the gate until the straggler arrives.

For unplanned delays or lateness caused by factors beyond an individual’s control, airline policy is to hold flights for a period of 15-20 minutes in order to accommodate passengers who have missed their designated boarding time. Even after a plane has been waiting for this period of time, there is usually still wiggle room if special circumstances apply—such as severe traffic or weather conditions that make it impossible for a traveler to arrive on time.

In addition, many airlines are willing to grant extensions based on individual circumstances and professional discretion. For example, some carriers might move passengers from an earlier flight that has been delayed into another if it means they won’t miss connecting flights due to lateness. Airlines also often make allowances for those traveling with dependents such as infants, small children or elderly family members who require more boarding time despite an already late arrival at the gates.


Airlines will not hold their flight for any passenger unless they require special assistance during boarding or if they have a VIP meet and greet service to help them with their check-in process. The majority of scheduled airlines usually hit their departure gates within minutes of their specified times, leaving no room for late arrivals. Here you can find one of the best VIP meet and greet services available right now.

In any case, it’s best for travelers to strive for punctuality and plan accordingly in order to avoid potential travel delays caused by running late when departing from airports.

Impact of Late Passengers on Flight Schedules

Every airline and flight has its own rules and regulations when it comes to handling late passengers. While some offer lenient policies for those who show up late for the boarding time, others can be incredibly strict with their policies.


Depending on the airline, a plane may wait anywhere from zero minutes to 15-20 minutes after its scheduled departure time for late passengers to board. The amount of time a specific flight needs to wait is determined by several factors, including the number of seats left empty on the plane and the total number of staff and crew required to run it.

When it comes to domestic flights, they usually give late passengers 10 minutes after boarding has closed to check in before they leave. However, international flights are usually much stricter, allowing only five minutes after takeoff time for people who were checked in but were not able to board on time.

They are usually more lenient toward those who have missed their connecting flight due to delays or other problems with earlier flights; they may allow up to 30 or even 45 additional minutes before they need to depart with their current flight load.


Ultimately, everyone should be mindful and arrive at least half an hour before boarding is scheduled close if possible as you never know what sort of problem might arise that could prevent you from making your departure window. Being prompt will ensure that you have an enjoyable and hassle-free experience flying with any particular airline.

Strategies to Avoid Being Late for a Flight

Nobody likes to miss their plane, but it’s something that happens even to the most prepared travelers. If you don’t want to worry about the consequences of running late on departure day, there are several strategies to help avoid it.

Some of them may accept a certain percentage of late passengers and wait for up to 10 minutes; however, this highly depends on the particular airline and flight time. To be sure you arrive on time, plan ahead by following some general guidelines:

-Book direct flights or look for nonstop flights when selecting your route—this will help minimize any delays caused by layovers or connections.

Plan your journey with enough time for unexpected events like traffic jams or weather conditions that can slow down your travel.


-Check at least 3 hours in advance and make sure you know exactly where and when you need to be before boarding.

-Be aware that security screenings will take some time like long lines during peak times – consider this extra time when planning your schedule.

-Visit the airport near departure time, as many airline companies often close their counters 40 minutes prior to take off.


-Double check if all documents are valid – carry both printed boarding passes (if necessary) and a photo ID depending on requirements of your airline carrier and destination country if applicable.

Follow these strategies when traveling with an airline carrier, as they can help you stay organized while avoiding costly fees associated with missing a flight due to delays or unexpected circumstances.



On average, airlines will wait up to 15 minutes after the posted departure time for domestic flights and 30 minutes for international flights before they will close the door and leave without you. However, these wait times may vary between airlines and circumstances, so it’s best to be as prompt as possible with your arrival at the gate.

Consider that once an airline has closed a flight due to too many late arrivals, they cannot account for those who arrive on time but will not have seats remaining. Rescheduling options may be available if your flight has been closed due to too many late passengers.