Travel Tips

Wed, 13 Feb, 2019Courtney Allan

The three letters you do not want on your boarding pass

The three letters you do not want on your boarding pass

There are a variety of codes used in order for air flight ticket agents to keep on top of what their customers are going through.

One of these codes is “GTE”, which stands for “Gate”. It means that even though you might have paid full fare for your flight, you technically don’t have a seat.

An Air Canada ticket agent has confirmed this to be true.

He told CBC: “If someone has GTE (for “gate”) on their boarding pass, it means they don’t have a seat.”

Naturally, telling someone this at the gate can cause issues, so he just told the new hires to send them to the gate.

"I say to the new hired agents, 'You can't put up with confrontation all day long. If someone has 'GTE' [for "gate"] on their boarding pass, it means they don't have a seat. But if you explain that to them, they'll get upset. So just send them to the gate."

The unnamed ticket agent was unhappy with the practice, saying “It’s never fun to have to lie to people”.

"I had to tell people over and over again that they were gonna get on the plane, when I knew that they might not."

Air Canada has denied overselling flights, which is what causes people to not have seats in the first place, with a spokesperson for the airline saying that “overselling accounts for less than 1 per cent of passengers booked”.

According to Thomas Janson at Shine Lawyers, overbooking is common within Australia too.

"Overbooking is legal in Australia and unfortunately it is a fairly common occurrence," he said.

"Whether you get a meal voucher or just a pat on the back after your flight is overbooked, is at the discretion of the airline. There is no requirement for them to compensate you for your loss.”

Has this happened to you whilst boarding? Let us know in the comments.