I asked the question If I book a flight with a passport and the airline employee at the check-in desk refuses it, can I check in with a second passport of mine? and it got closed on the grounds that the answer may depend on the airline or the check-in airline clerk. The two answers that were posted before the question got closed report that in practice the answer tends to be yes, and the first answer adds that one can be unlucky with the check-in airline clerk (in which case I assume that probably the supervisor can fix the situation, or perhaps the airline has some rules superseding whatever the check-in airline clerk may think).

Should questions whose answer may depend on the airline or the check-in airline clerk be closed as "opinion-based" or be left open?

Note that when I wrote the question, I thought that airlines would have a uniform, clear policy about it (though I had no idea whether it'd be yes or no), and as a result an answer stating that it depends on airline or the check-in airline clerk would still give me (and most of the other 4,000 readers that saw the questions before it got closed) some very valuable information (e.g., that I should check with the specific airline first).

I would also note that the check-in airline clerk can deny boarding for some very disputable or even invalid reasons (example 1, example 2, example 3), so many questions about check-in could be closed as "opinion-based" (example) on the same grounds.

1 Answer 1


I think they should be closed. There are many airlines, who may have differing policies (if they have policies at all) for these situations, and whose counters will be staffed by an almost infinite number of clerks and supervisors.

There is, in my opinion, no possibility of a general answer for all airlines.

  • Thanks. So in practice do you think we should close all questions pertaining to whether check-in given some conditions will be allowed? Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 1:20
  • Not necessarily. Timatic provides a good indication of when check-in should be allowed. This query, however, goes beyond Timatic into each airline's appetite and tolerance for variation and improvisation and change of course. That detour goes, IMO, from "answerable" to " opinion." Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 1:33
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    But questions that can be answered just by reading Timatic aren't interestingz since typically it means the OP was simply unaware of timatic. And a motivated airlines employee can still ignore Timaticnand refusing boarding if they feel like it, since the airline tends to have the last word as to who is allowed to board. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 1:37
  • Yes, Timatic questions aren't usually interesting. But the questioners don't know, and an answer and explanation are helpful. But because the employee can act independently, their actions are less predictable, more subject to whim, and, thus, less subject to a generic one-fits-all answer. I stand by my previous view. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 3:17
  • Airlines sometime have policies that are supposed to guide the employees' actions. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 3:18
  • I'm sorry, Franck, I don't agree. There are too many possible policies, and possible outcomes, and possible inputs (How does the clerk feel that day? How does the clerk's supervisor feel? Why is Timatic vague or imprecise on vis-a-vis this passenger?) to generate a fits-all answer. I still think the questions addressed in this Meta question are opinion-based. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 3:24
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    I think they should be closed unless the OP specifies a particular airline(s). Also if the question is general, and the answer to it is pretty obvious (check with the specific airline first) @Frank Dernoncourt
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 8:57
  • @Traveller at the time of asking the question, I had no idea the answer is specific to one airline. Definitely not obvious to me. Some airlines policies are the same across airlines, e.g. Why would airlines not let a US citizen with an expired passport board a plane back to the US?. So it seems that the OP needs to know the answer to the question before knowing whether it is on-topic, which doesn't make sense. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 21:46
  • @FranckDernoncourt It's difficult for sure. The first hurdle is API; if API is required for the route, boarding with a passport different from the one previously provided by the airline to the destination's immigration authorities won't be allowed. The second hurdle is the airline: policy may allow or prohibit the change, or leave the issue up to the clerk and supervisor on duty. And whatever the policy is, policy may be followed or skirted or ignored. I think there's nowhere to go in the enquiry except "maybe" or "it depends." Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 23:05
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    @DavidSupportsMonica your comment is a perfect example of a great answer to my question. Leaving the question open would allow users like you to give insight on which dependencies we're talking about. This is very valuable knowledge, and by no means make it an open ended or unanswerable questionn. Instead it is a great fit for the stack exchange Q&A format. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 23:26

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