Yes. Once I said that to an airline representative at the boarding gate of a flight I was already checked into. It was a couple of months ago, in Europe, I had already checked my luggage and the boarding was about to be opened in 30 minutes.
The airline staff looked at me as if I were some sort of mentally unstable person that didn’t want to board the plane for some crazy reason. That wasn’t why I couldn’t do it. The real reason was that I forgot one of my travel documents at home and there was no time to go back and get it in time to board the plane. Smart!
It’s definitely an awkward situation. I was feeling completely stupid, and the airline rep was making a great effort to conceal her eagerness to strangle me. Definitely not my brightest moment.
You are at the gate, you cannot board the plane, you tell that to the airline staff… What happens next?
It all depends if you checked in your luggage or not and if your luggage was already loaded to the plane, or even if you were already on board.
First of all, unfortunately, in these cases, you basically lose the flight and you need to book a new one, which is the worst part.
Then, if your luggage was already loaded, they need to unload it, which will definitely cause delays in the departure of the flight. Luckily, that wasn’t my case. My luggage was still off the plane so they just “unloaded” me from their system, and sent my bag back to the Lost and Found area in the Baggage Claim of the airport. I only needed to go there and claim it, and that part was done.
The only good thing is that you have a good story to tell your friends and colleagues. A story that starts like this: “I was at the gate and told the airline rep: ‘I am sorry but I cannot board this plane'” 😉