My wife and child were denied boarding on an Alitalia Rome to Chicago flight. The ticketed departure time was 10:15. They arrived at check-in at 9:15. Boarding had not begun. Many empty seats. The check-in agent said they were too late. However, no check-in deadlines were posted on the ticket or at the gate. My wife then had to pay $200 per person to change their tickets to the next flight the next day. In response to my complaint, I was told that at one hour prior to departure, if you haven't checked in, you are considered a "no show," and that everyone knows better.
Of course. Everyone knows it is wise to get to the gate more than an hour early. I get it. But it seems to me that before an airline rejects paid tickets and imposes hundreds of dollars in penalties, there should be a definitive arrival deadline posted on the ticket or at least at the gate as opposed to, "everyone knows better."
I'm mostly troubled by the $400 penalty they had to pay. Do I just bite the bullet on this one or consider further action? Any similar experiences?