Host only Obligated to Meet at Exact Check-in Time?

My elderly mother was due to arrive in Strasbourg this evening at 6:30 PM. The host told me he could not meet her until 8:30 PM. I rang Airbnb customer service to ask for general advice on how to deal with the situation – while I was walking – and they refused to give me any information until I was verified. Because of a glitch – an old and expired visa card was listed as the default – they would not verify me and hence refused to give me any advice. I then stopped in the street, set up a personal hotspot to use my computer, and verified the card. This was on my way to work where I would be in meetings all day. Now verified, Airbnb told me that as the host had listed his check in time as 2:00 PM, he was under no obligation to meet my mother at all after that time. Firstly, that’s a risk I think all customers should know about. Secondly, this meant my elderly mother, who does not speak French, would have to stand in the cold, with her heavy bags until the host felt like meeting her, if indeed he did at all. I then had no choice but to cancel and make alternative arrangements. In followup emails, the same patronising bureaucrat told me I didn’t have to cancel; Airbnb could have called the host to help you. He could have told me this before forcing me to stop in the street and verify myself. I have had to book a hotel at huge cost as well as pay for the Airbnb. I am stunned at how appalling they are at customer service.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. As much as I don’t want to “blame the victim” this is just what you get with AirBnB. There are still many good reasons to book a hotel. A hotel has a front desk with standard operating hours and usually most major hotel chains has someone who speaks major languages. Hotels will normally always answer a call and help with directions and have a set time range to check in.

    I get it- a hotel can be twice the cost, but for that extra cost you are getting a lot in return, i.e hospitality.

  2. Your first mistake is that Airbnb do not condone 3rd party bookings. Which your was. Aside from that the host doesn’t sound very host like not offering flexible check in time.

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