The following letter was written by a travel industry veteran who asked not to be identified.
I won't even name the airline because my feeling is that this is symptomatic of many if not most US major airlines. I was standing at a ticket counter of a major airline and, unusually--perhaps because it was in the evening--there were only two customers at the counter: me and a young girl standing at the podium at the next counter position.
The girl seemed to be about 18 years old, and I noticed she had a Danish passport that she was using for identification. She was having trouble printing a boarding pass for her flight, and the airline agent behind the counter intervened only to respond to her something like, "The flight is closed out because it is less than 45 minutes prior to departure." I found out her flight was at 8p and it was about 7:16, 44 minutes prior to departure. I watched and listened as he did call the gate, only to be told that the flight was boarding and, he reiterated, "closed."
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