Prospective guest refused to either provide plane arrival time or flight number

Hi folks,

Sorry, I know I’m not here very much any longer. I just thought I would ask for feedback on this minor situation.

This is similar to Best way to ask for guests arrival and departure information but that’s an ancient thread, and probably not worth resurrecting.

Since the pandemic, I’ve changed things slightly so I now try to talk to a prospective guest before accepting his, her or their booking. I don’t suppose Airbnb approves of this, but they haven’t tried to stop me yet.

Anyway, I just spoke to a guest rather late in the 24 hour period we all know and love. He refused to tell me either his arrival time at Bombay airport or his plane number, saying I didn’t require that information. He wrote that he will arrive between 4 and 6 pm. After some thought I decided to take the somewhat drastic step of declining his booking request, something I rarely do. It did help that it was a two night booking slightly over 2 weeks from now.

The only time I can recall doing this recently (as in the last couple of years), is for a booking where my respondent was apparently a lunatic and responded with gibberish. I backed away from that one hastily.

This person was a polite and well spoken German with stellar reviews. Though I’ve learned to distrust stellar reviews. All too often they seem to have little to no relevance to the person I end up hosting

Maybe I was being paranoid, but this job already has enough stress, especially for the amount of money I make. And I do host these people in my home - just that minor detail.

Here is the response I left on the Airbnb Messaging thread for this person. Does anyone think I acted unreasonably? Would you have handled it differently?

Greetings from Bombay.


(In the unlikely event any Airbnb rep reads this and wants an
explanation of why I declined this booking…)

This prospective guest refused to tell me either what time his plane
arrived, or what his flight number was, saying that I didn’t need to
know this information. This is of course not in any sense
confidential information.

While this is not in itself a big deal, it’s a little worrying at the
outset. I don’t remember it happening before, and I’ve been hosting
since 2016. I don’t look forward to wondering what other details this
guest will decide I don’t need to know. This business already has
enough stress. On balance, I think it’s better to decline.


I have no idea what you mean by this. I have never used Instant Book and communicate with every guest before accepting their booking, as do 10s of thousands of hosts who require guests to send requests- that’s the whole point of choosing not to use IB, so you can have a dialogue with guests to make sure they will be a good fit for you and your listing.

As far as the information you requested of the guest, why would you need to know his flight time and number? What business is that of yours? All a host needs to know is the guest’s projected check-in time, which he gave you. Why should a guest have to give you their flight info, unless you were arranging transportation from the airport for them?

Just because something isn’t confidential information doesn’t mean you have the right to ask a guest about something that is of no concern to you, and I find it odd that a guest declining to give you non-pertinent information would be grounds to decline them.

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Hi there.

I suppose it’s ‘nice’ to know when your guest is coming in, but I’m feeling on the guest’s side here.

He told you a window when he would arrive. If I were the guest I would tell you the flight number or maybe I’d ask why you need to know more beyond the arrival window.

So, yes, I think you acted unreasonably. I would not have cancelled. When the guest said I didn’t need the information I might have written 'Of course, I was just trying to get a more accurate arrival time so I could . . . "

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Is there a ‘need to know’ this for you (are you needing to meet the guest at a certain time, for example)? If yes, then all good. if no, then their flight times are perhaps TMI.

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There was a time a few months ago when every flight was coming in late and I did ask for this info too. No one seemed to mind providing but I also have a check in by 11 pm unless your flight is delayed or we have discussed a late check in ahead of time. The penalty for checking in after 11 pm is $100 except for extenuating circumstance. So maybe say it helps to plan for check in arrival.

I did have a guest who refused to provide the information requested when they instant book and airbnb refused to insist that they follow my rules nor would they cancel the guest penalty free.

I have had 3 guests who had flight delays. They all messaged me from their departure airport letting me know the situation, and again when the flight was finally boarding. It never occured to me, nor was there any need for me to ask them for their flight information.

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Hi Rolf,

Is there a ‘need to know’ this for you (are you needing to meet the guest at a certain time, for example)? If yes, then all good. if no, then their flight times are perhaps TMI.

(Sorry, the usual copy and paste isn’t working for me right now.)

I would be be meeting the guest on arrival, of course. Normally I drop everything to give a guest the walkthrough and so forth. In return I expect the guest to extend the courtesy of keeping me informed of his schedule. Arriving between 4 to 6 pm doesn’t really work for me. (I don’t want to spend my afternoon hanging around waiting for the guest. Which sometimes happens, anyway.) In part because the guest probably won’t have any idea what time it would take from the airport, while I do. So that estimate would be wildly off. Also, flight times can change.

I guess I don’t consider flight arrival times and numbers “personal” information. Or really, something to be in any way concerned about. Unless you are an international spy and are afraid of hostile action. So if my guest was James Bond, I guess I would have given him a pass. Of course, others might disagree. But based on my experience, this is very much a minority thing.

Also, I suppose there is an element of trust. I’m allowing this person, a stranger, into my home. I don’t think being overly defensive is really the right way to reciprocate. But that’s just my opinion.

However, in the course of the guest stay, I would in fact ask for guest’s personal information. There is a govt form to be filled out. I didn’t want to have arguments with this person about him giving me his information. I am always a bit tense around strangers in my home, and I guess I found it disconcerting, because nobody else has reacted this way.

Since there seems to be some confusion about this, I should mention that I spoke to him on the phone.

Starting this thread was probably a mistake. Perhaps I should delete it. Assuming I can figure out how…


Hi @muddy,

I have had 3 guests who had flight delays. They all messaged me from their departure airport letting me know the situation, and again when the flight was finally boarding. It never occured to me, nor was there any need for me to ask them for their flight information.

That’s nice for you. But my experience is that guests are not infrequently poor at keeping me in the loop. Nor do they seem overly concerned about it, even in the middle of the night. Also, international travellers quite often don’t have a working phone on arrival, though since eSIMs now exist, perhaps that will stop being an issue. Though you still have to buy the SIM in advance.


Do you have a rule about acceptable check-in times, such as 5-11 p.m. (and whatever time zone you’re in)?

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Hi @muddy,

I mean I spoke to the guest on the phone, rather than exchanging messages on Airbnb Messaging. As I mentioned, I’ve started doing that recently, because it’s more efficient. And most people don’t want to message. Airbnb might not like it, but I’m not using it as a way to get around Airbnb or anything like that. Which wouldn’t make business sense, anyway.

In this case messaging probably wouldn’t have worked very well anyway, because the guest waited till about 5 hours before the 24 hour booking period was over before his initial reply.

Hi @RebeccaF,

(The quote behavior seems to have changed. I figured it out now.)

I accept any check-in time, with the following provisos. It’s not excessively early. Like 7.30 am is out. And if there is a guest leaving that day, I try to make sure to pick a time by which the old guest has left. Otherwise, confusion.

I get a lot of international travellers, (or at least I did, before the pandemic), and they arrive at all times of the day and night.

Is that relevant?

Ah, it wasn’t clear that you were talking about a phone call. Yes, Airbnb may not want us to communicate outside the system, but I often do it with my guests for things like letting me know when they have arrived at the airport and are about to board the bus to my town, as I pick them up at the bus station. Time-sensitive issues are not something I like to depend on Airbnb messaging for, as I have experienced time lags between when a guest messages and when I receive it, as well as sometimes not receiving any notification at all of a guest message.

One of the reasons it is a good idea for hosts to use messaging as much as possible (disregarding what Airbnb wants), is to have a paper trail if there is contention between host and guest. For instance, if a guest tells you after they have booked that their family will be coming over for dinner, and you tell them that you’re sorry, but unregistered guests are not allowed, it’s clearly written in your house rules, and the guest ignores that and the family shows up anyway, you want a written record of that exchange, to back up the reason for asking for the booking to be cancelled.

And I get many international guests, so am familiar with a guest’s phone perhaps not working here. But most decent-sized airports have free Wifi these days that passengers can connect to, so it shouldn’t be an issue for a guest to let you know they have arrived in town.

Of course, if a guest simply isn’t respectful enough to do that if they have been delayed, there’s not much you can do about that other than give them a bad review and rating for lack of communication.

And our stated check-in window is relevant in that guests should be able to check-in any time during that period. Of course we don’t want to be waiting around all day for a guest to arrive, which is why we ask guests for ETA. But if your check-in time says 11am-11pm, as mine does (my situation of guest flights arriving at any time, and maybe most guests not arriving in their own car, sound similar to yours) you can’t tell a guest, “Oh, I can’t accommodate a 2pm check-in”. If you did, and the guest filed a complaint, Airbnb would give the guest a full refund, consider it a host cancellation, and apply penalties.

Of course if you told a guest, "I have to pick my child up from school at 2pm, could you possibly arrive either before 1:45 or after 2:15?"and the guest agreed, no problem. Most guests would be understanding of something like that.

I ask my guests for flight details for arrival and departure. For me it helps with planning the cleans and if I can offer early check-in/out.

We have a small business on the island and we’re always running. So it’s nice to know if we (on the incoming side) have a couple more hours to get the place ready or if the place is already ready and the flight comes in before the 4pm check-in time, we can offer an early check-in, and (on the outgoing side) if we can begin the clean earlier than the 11am check-out.

During the Covid lockdown and slow reopening, we had to ask very personal questions of our guests. I’m glad that phase is behind us (for now).

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One reason I have provided this info when traveling internationally is that if there was a flight delay, the host would have no way of knowing my arrival time. I don’t have any way to contact the host while I’m still in the air. Many international flights don’t offer wifi connectivity and even when it is offered, some people like me do not want to pay for it.

@faheem : People in the USA & EU have a higher desire to protect privacy. I think if you explain why you need this information like you did here, they might comply.

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Don’t the majority of significant flight delays happen before the flight even boards, not after it is in the air? As I mentioned, all 3 of my flight-delayed guests called me from their departure airport to inform me of the delays.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a guest providing such information, but as a host, I can’t imagine checking online to see whether all my guests’ flights were arriving as scheduled.

In some congested airports, flights keep circling before they can land if they have missed their slot due to a weather related delay. Flights can also be delayed due to headwinds and make up time in the air (especially on longer flights).

For shorter flights and smaller airports situation would be different. I think Germany to Bombay would be a long flight, perhaps longer than North American destinations to PVR.

Again, I think other hosts can have valid reasons for requesting this information even if you don’t see the need for that information because of your hosting situation.

@faheem : some people in Western countries have high expectations of privacy to the extent that they won’t provide you your covid test results but still expect you to provide a refund. I ran into this situation recently.

I suppose if a guest didn’t show up within a reasonable amount of time past their ETA, and hadn’t contacted me and wasn’t answering their phone, I might check their flight arrival info if they had given it to me. Not saying it couldn’t be useful info, it just isn’t info I would insist a guest give me, nor decline them over.

BTW, North America is a big place and includes Mexico. :wink: Canada, the US, Mexico, and Central America comprise the continent of North America.

I had no idea PVR was in NA :wink:

I don’t think there is a longer flight from any airport in NA to PVR than Germany to Bombay.

But yes, you have your reasons for not treating this information as critical and other hosts have their own reasons to request this information.

Seems like this guest was better suited for a hotel.

For me, one of the main reasons to stay in an Airbnb was to interact with locals and gain cultural awareness. I think us Western hosts here find your questions intrusive, but having worked with people from India and traveled in India, I know your question is not malicious or unusual.

The guest missed an opportunity to gain cultural awareness by asking a question about how this this information will help you.

You are fortunate. About the only time I hear about a delay from an arriving guest is when they miss their flight.

We have the same situation (well, our housekeeper meets them at our villa). She is a single mom and she has to manage her schedule. So we need flight information so she can keep track of when they will arrive and make arrangements for her daughter if needed.

But I don’t require it before they book. So far, everyone has provided that when I ask about a week before they arrive.


Well, Whitehorse, Yukon, to PV is over 7-7.5 hrs, depending on connecting city, with no non-stop flights available, so a long haul. About an hour and a bit shorter in flight time, non-stop, than Germany to Mumbai.

I am. The vast majority of my guests have been really good communicators. And it seems they also read the listing info, as none have had expectations beyond what I provide.