Oh, So They Really Do Shut Down The Gate An Hour Before The Flight Leaves?

I feel like such an idiot. Today I was leaving for my flight to Seattle – to attend the Microsoft Mobius 2009 event – and my flight was leaving at 1:30pm. Not boarding, but leaving the ground. I have a NEXUS pass, which allows me to breeze through US customs quickly, so an hour is more than enough time for me to get my boarding pass, go through US customs, then go through security and walk to the departure gate. In fact, I can typically do that in 15 to 20 minutes at the Calgary airport – giving me 20+ minutes sitting at the gate waiting for the plane to board. I’ve always thought I have more important things to do than sit around at an airport, so I tend to cut it close.

Well, today I cut it a little too close…I arrived at the Calgary airport at 12:32 PM, and was at the Horizon/Alaska gate by 12:36 PM with my US customs card completed. There was no one there, so I went over to the next gate to ask how I could find someone to check me in for the flight. I was directed¬† to the Horizon/Alaska office 50 feet away. I walked in, asked for someone to check me in for the flight, and was told that was impossible – the gate was closed. My jaw fell open and worked silently for a moment, then I sputtered “But…but…I must missed it by only a few minutes! There’s really no one that can check me in? They informed me that Horizon/Alaska closes the gate exactly 60 minutes before the flight leaves, and that once the gate is closed, there’s no way to check baggage – so if I wanted to make this flight, I’d have to go with carry-on only. There was another flight leaving at 6pm today, and if I wanted I could exchange my ticket for that flight at no charge.¬† Those were my only two choices. Continue reading Oh, So They Really Do Shut Down The Gate An Hour Before The Flight Leaves?