Traditionally, passengers queue up in an airport hours before their flight to check-in, meaning that they confirm their arrival and flying presence with airline staff. Now, however, it is much more common for airlines to offer advance online check-in, or web check-in, for you to check-in yourself from the comfort of your home or mobile. At Alternative Airlines, we understand that flying can be a stressful time and we aim to minimise stress to ensure passengers have the best possible flying and booking experience. Therefore, we recommend that passengers use online check-in where possible as we believe it has a multitude of benefits:
We believe one of the most important advantages to checking in online is the cost-benefits. Some airlines now charge when checking in at the airport, whereas most airlines will offer online check-in free of charge. Additionally, some airlines will offer discounts on checked baggage or other services when booking online, as opposed to paying full price at the airport. Therefore online check-in is often a much cheaper option than airport check-in.
There is nothing worse than arriving at the airport to see a room full of winding queues at the check-in, with staff announcing that you will have an hour wait. When checking in online, there are no queues at all as it all all done by you beforehand. This makes the whole check-in process a lot quicker, giving you more time to yourself and less time standing in queues, especially when travelling without checked luggage.
Web check-in also means that there is one less job to do once you are at the airport. This means less stress for you, knowing that you have secured your place, and often your seat, on the plane. You can check-in from your desktop, mobile or tablet, meaning you can do it from the comfort of your home or on-the-go. Checking in online also means you can often choose your seats in advance, so you can have reassurance of sitting where desired, or if traveling as a group, you can sit together.
How does online check-in work?
When finalising your booking, it is important to look up the individual airline regarding their check-in policy. As mentioned, most airlines will now offer this but it is good to check the time frame in which you can do this, as some companies may close their online check-in a few hours before departure and you may have to pay the airport check-in fee as mentioned. Additionally, it is important to check the destination that you are travelling to accepts online check-in.
Using your chosen device, follow the instructions on the airline check-in website or app to check-in and choose any additional services such as food, upgrades or baggage extras. This usually requires the full passenger details and booking reference.
Once completing check-in, you will need to obtain your boarding pass. Some airlines offer collection in the airport, but most will allow printing from home. If you don't have access to a printer, however, you can often download your boarding ticket to your mobile phone, through an email or the airline app if they have one - just make you keep enough charge on your phone if you are choosing this method to be able to scan your ticket at the airport.
On your day of departure, you do not need to worry about checking in. Instead, go straight to the airlines bag drop off facility if you have checked luggage. If you only have hand luggage, you can skip this step and head for security, where you will be required to show your boarding pass.
If you forget your boarding pass, or you phone runs out of battery, you can still go to the check-in desk to reprint your ticket, but please be aware that some airlines may charge for this.