May 10, 2015

Posted by in Money Saving Tips, Trip Advice | 221 Comments

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How does online check in work?

Checking in online is pretty much standard now with airlines including charter, budget and scheduled carriers. With airlines introducing new apps for smart phones by the day, the concept of arriving at an airport and checking in the traditional way is beginning to wane.

EasyJet has even launched a TV campaign to persuade us that travelling paper-free is the future.

Beach holidays

Not only is it now far easier to check in using your desktop computer, tablet or phone, it means you can often choose your seat before you get to the airport and even save time before your flight with shorter queues, especially if travelling hand luggage only.

More importantly, it is cheaper to use online services with some airlines.

So, if you have yet to embrace the world of electronic check in, here is our guide to breezing through the process.

1. Pay attention when booking

After you have made your booking, you will be notified when check in opens for your flight, either in your confirmation email or during the booking process on your airline or travel agent’s website. Make a note of this, so that you can check in as early as possible.

Many airlines, such as British Airways and easyJet, still offer the choice of airport check in and, in some destinations, online check in may not yet be available for all services, so do check your airline’s website.

Some airlines have even started offering an automatic check in feature to their booking options. Flybe now offers this system, meaning that the airline will send you your boarding pass around 36 hours prior to departure – so you don’t even have to think about checking in once the booking has been made.

Top tip: Some airlines will charge you to check in at the airport. These include Ryanair who charge £45 per person each way and Jet2 who charge £15 per person each way. So it’s well worth ensuring you opt for the online option here to save yourself some cash.

2. Check for apps

Online check in

If your airline has an app, download it to your smartphone. It will prompt you when check in opens, allow you to update your booking if you need to and also advise you of any changes or delays to your aircraft.

You can even make new bookings or check details such as airline mileage if your carrier offers this.

Airlines such as British Airways even alert you when the departure gate opens at the airport, giving you more chance to relax before your flight rather than constantly staring at the departure boards.

Easyjet has a Mobile Host app that helps guide you through the airport.

3. Make your booking (h)API

Every airline now collects Advance Passenger Information (API) for their bookings under strict security rulings. Airlines will require full passport names and insurance details as a minimum and, depending on your destination, may also request you give them contact information and the address of where you will be staying.

You will be prompted by your airline to add this information, so do it online, well ahead of travel to make your time at the airport as smooth as possible.

4. Get checked in

You are usually notified by your airline when online check in has opened via email, text or app alerts.

The time that check in opens varies from one airline to another, with some allowing check in from as many as 28 days in advance (easyJet and Monarch) to 24 hours before with carriers such as British Airways.

You will need your booking reference as a minimum to start the check in process and most airlines will allow check in for up to nine people online. (Groups should check their airline’s procedure.) You may also be required to check in infants less than two years of age at the airport. Again, check your airline’s website for further information.

At this stage you may be able to select or change your seat if you have not chosen to pre-pay for your preferred place on the plane. If you have not yet completed your API information you will have to do this as part of the check in procedure.

You will also need to confirm the number of bags you are checking in so use this as a chance to review if you need either add an additional bag OR to increase your weight allowance. It is nearly always cheaper to do this online than at the airport.

Top tip: As many customers will select seats online, there will be fewer available for those choosing a traditional airport check in. So bear this in mind.


5. Choose your boarding pass

Boarding passSome airlines will give you the option to print out your boarding pass at home. Check the terms and conditions around this as fees are levied by some carriers such as Ryanair for failing to do this.

Others will allow you to send your boarding pass to an email address, to your mobile phone (pictured left) or to collect it at the airport. Using the mobile phone method can work out the most efficient and your boarding pass will either appear in your airline app for you to add to features such as Passbook or you can download it from an email straight to your hand-held device.

Save your boarding pass to your phone so it’s ready whenever you need it. Families or people travelling together can download all of their boarding passes to one phone or to several devices.

Top tip: Online check in closes a few hours before departure, so don’t leave it to the last minute as you may be too late and will incur an airport check in fee as mentioned with Ryanair above.

6. What happens on departure day?

Get to the airport in plenty of time and remember to take your smart phone with you or your printed boarding cards.

Travelling hand luggage only? Then bypass check in and go straight to security as normal.

If you are checking bags in you can go straight to the bag drop off points for your airline. Some airlines are now making this self-service where you print your own tags and fix them to the bags. You then simply drop the bags at the special desks, so check with airline staff if you are unsure.

Staff will scan your printed boarding pass or phone and you can even use these to pass through security.

7. What if I forget to check in online or leave my boarding card at home?

If you forget to check in online or forget or lose your boarding pass, you will still be allowed to travel. You will just have to check in as normal or have a new boarding card printed for you at the airport.

Most airlines will still allow you to do this for free (but check you individual airline’s policy); however you can expect longer queues.



Worried about checking in online or want advice about your airline’s procedures? Are you an online check in convert? Leave a comment below to let us know.

  1. derek hill says:

    do you have to pay for your seats with online check in?

    • Anonymous says:

      How long before you fly can you check in online

      • Angela says:

        I have booked a flight on line for the first time been sent confimation do I print this off as flight isnt till next year and how do I print off boarding passes and when many thanx

        • Hi there Angela


          Which airline are you travelling with?

          Kind regards


          • Angela says:

            Thank you ryanir

          • Hi there Angela

            As you’re travelling on Ryanair, they have a page telling you about check in and boarding passes. You can view that here;

            For now print your confirmation for your records and keep an eye on your email in box in case there are any flight schedule changes between now and your departure date.

            Kind regards


          • Jeremy says:

            Just been told by Ryanair that if you want ot check in before 7 days in advance you have to reserve a seat and pay up too £12 oer seat, per journey to do so. They’re levying whatever fees they can on the conscius traveller, for anyone who wants to be organised – they will charge to make more money. Also – if you dont have access to onlline check in – it will cost £60 per person each way! I feel its disgraceful.They should be more open at the front end on the flight comparison sites.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have been trying to do on line check in for 4 days now and just says a fault has occurred check in at desk :(

  2. Hi Derek

    Your question is valid, however it really does vary by airline. However generally, once on line check-in is open, you can select your seat for free unless the airline has a free seating policy.

    With easyJet and Ryanair you cannot book individual seats, so when you check-in on line it is still a free for all when you board. Either pay for early boarding at up to £16 each way OR be one of the first to board so that you have the widest choice of seats.

    BA allows you to check in from 24 hours before and seat selection at this point is free. However if you wish to reserve seats ahead of this you will pay for the priviledge. This is similar to other airlines such as bmibaby, bmi, monarch, flybe. When you use their online check in you will be able to select from whatever is left from customers who have chosen to pre-allocate their seats by paying.

    Also note that online check-in open times vary from airline to airline.

    Hope this helps – who are you travelling with and I can give you specific advice for that airline?

    Kind regards


    • Anonymous says:

      60£ fine

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi I have been charged by my travel company for my boarding passes , I have had so many problems with them , the flight was through easy jet in the end initially British airways but they would not refund my money so they said I had to pay for boarding passes is this correct , thanks

        • Hello,

          Can you please tell me which travel company you booked through – is it a travel agent or some other company?

          Also, do you know who charged that company for boarding passes – was it the airline or another company that they booked through?

          Neither BA or Easyjet charge for boarding passes, so I can see no reason why they would pass any charge on to you.


    • marlene says:

      we are travelling with jet 2

  3. derek hill says:

    Hi Bob
    We are flying with from blackpool.
    The online check-in opens 28 days before the dep. So we were hoping to get in asap to choose seats for free, as you would at the check-in desk when getting your boarding pass

  4. Hi Derek

    You should be fine. I can’t imagine that many seats will have been pre-sold on the flights, so you should have a good pick.

    If you cannot actually select your seat when online check-in opens, then ensure you get the airport early on day of departure to get the best pick from the check-in/bag drop desks.

    Have a great trip.


  5. can ordinary a4 paper be used to print boarding pass

  6. Harry Lawrance says:

    It certainly can Anne – just print your boardig pass out like you you would any other document.

    • Hi Harry

      We too will be travelling for the first time with ryanair having booked on line again for the first time. Your comments re the procedure and the boarding pass have helped a great deal. I am about to complete the form and have been very apprehensive and not a little worried that I might make a mistake when completing the details. Glad I found you and thanks!

  7. Hi Bob

    Just wanted to say thanks for this informative and very helpful advice. I am due to fly soon from GLA to SOU with Flybe and will be using the on-lone check in facility for the first time, which I was stressing and worrying about. However, your advice has been invaluable and has abated my fears!

    So, many thanks once again!


  8. Valerie says:

    Hi, do you know whether you enter passenger names manually or if it comes from the infomation you gave at time of booking? I’m travelling with Ryan Air soon and didn’t put my friend’s middle name on the booking – I never have before and never needed to to but now i’m worried that with Ryanair’s reputation for charging at every opportunity it could be a problem with them.

    Wondering if i can just include it at the online check in stage?


    • Hi Valerie

      Ryanair do not ask for middle names in the booking process and it is the names you enter when you book that must match the passport documentation when you travel.

      Airlines use the data that is submitted when a booking is made to match up all parts of the travel process, check in and boarding.

      You do not need to worry about middle names, so as long as you have the correct first name and surname there should be no problem at all with travelling.

      I too have a middle name but never use it when booking on carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet and have no problems checking in or boarding the plane.

      Have a great trip.


      • hi my friend has just checked me in online and although i told her my full name, which is Spanish : Marisel Giminez Fernandez she had only put my surname as Fernandez. Now im not sure i i need to change my name and pay £110? Please help!

  9. Hi

    Still confused (sorry) – do the normal “two hours before departure” arrival times still stand then?? Obviously we aren’t going to leave it until the last minute but as we only live 15 mins away from the airport and fly tomorrow morning at 6:30 I would much rather spend an extra hour at home than in the airport…


  10. Eleanor says:


    My friend and I have book a Jet2 flight and my friend did not put middle names on booking for online check but there are middle names on our passport. I was just worried because somewhere on their pages it says names on booking must match passport details. Do you think we will be charged extra for not putting middle names on booking forms.



  11. Julie says:

    Hi, similar query really.

    I have booked five seats on a Ryanair flight to Spain and only entered first name and surname as that is all that was asked. However, passports show a middle name.

    When doing the on-line booking do I add the middle name so it is the same as the passport or do I leave it out so it is the same as the original booking?

    Please help.

  12. when you check-in online, you don’t have boarding card, do you ?


  13. gaynor scollen says:

    My boarding card I printed says I’m a Mr but I’m a Mrs. It’s with jet2. Will this be a problem. I rang customer services and she said not to worry…but as it gets closer I am

  14. Roger Cook says:

    Does the bag drop desk of your airline actually print the luggage label as normal and stick it to your luggage?

  15. Rachel says:

    How do I go about checking in from corfu for my return flight?
    I can check in on line for my outward bound flight 28 days before hand so how soon should I check in for my return flight, we will be in corfu for 3 weeks.

  16. shaun Duffy says:


    i was checking in online on the jet2 website. When I got to the screen where I would input the passport number and expiry there was no fields for me to fill in. I checked the page for a few minutes so clicked on the next button. The website then advised me that the boarding passes were complete but i had not inputted any information. I checked the pdf of the boarding passes and all the details were blank. Why would the site generate the passes without the relevant details and why was the screen blank in the first place. I do not want to pay any extra as this was not my fauly. I tried logging back in to input the details but the site wouldn’t allow it. I then tried to call Jet2 but the office was closed. This has annoyed me greately as with other airlines the check in is simple. I honestly don’t know why they would allow the site to generate the booking passes without any of the fields filled in. grr Has this happpened to anyone else and is there anyway I can change this.

  17. Im travelling with easyjet soon to Krakow,Do they require middle names on the api part or the booking process.

  18. What questions are asked when printing out your boarding pass never done this before.

  19. Elizabeth Kelly says:


    I’ve just booked flights with Jet2 and opted for online check-in. I understood the whole point of online check-in was to save time and effort at the airport as I will print out my own boarding passes. so why do I have to pay for online check-in when I’m doing all the work?

    • Having same issue, booked with Expedia. It is meant to be an all in package except optional extras, check in is not an option. I am pursuing this further.

  20. Josette dootson says:

    We fly with thomas cook at on the 29th may 2014. I’ve entered my apis they received that but how do I get to check in and get boarding passes thankyou will I be able to do it at the airport

  21. rosey says:

    I have my hoarding passes, booked through a third party, sorry if im being thick but does this mean I do not have to check in?im taking it to mean if I have ny boarding passes I dont check in!!

  22. kathryn tinkler says:

    hi , im due to fly with ryanair in september and have to checkin on line and print out boarding passes, never done this before . So do i print out the outbound and inbound at the same time ? a little confused . thanks if you can help a novice !

  23. W A Corbett says:

    I have booked Ryanair flights to Charleroi from Manchester, successfully apart from my wife’s title as Mr. As the boarding pass is compared with passport data that does not include Mr/Mrs will we have any difficulty at the airport? Has anyone been faced with this problem? Name change i.e. the title, is extortionate with Ryanair.

    • Hi there

      You are right in that your passport and boarding pass should match, so there is a risk that you will be stopped. Its your choice whether to run the risk or whether to pay up and dhancge it now for a lower fee I’m afraid.

      They would be within their rights to demand a fee to change it at the airport as it is the passenger’s responsibility to book wth the correct information.

      Good luck and let us know how you get on.


  24. Julie weaver says:

    Hi I am flying with Thomson to turkey , I have just gone on to the site where they have given us our seats but they are not all together !! Do I just leave it and get to the airport earlier , but it’s saying on the check in unavailable seats do you think this is because the airport checking in desk has reserved them for people who haven’t yet paid !
    I didn’t relies that u could go in 7days before ! But still would of had to pay to change!!
    Goodness I am confused xxx
    So grateful for you comments

  25. Hi,

    Travelling Ryanair and waiting to check in 7 days before flight so can have free allocated seating. We are a family of four. How do I check us all in at once? Is it possible to place a check in the box next to everyone’s name at once then press return so that I don’t check everyone in individually?


    • I am sure you can check all passengers in at once on a Ryanair booking as long as they are all on the same booking.

      Have you logged on with your reservation number? Should be straighforward and the system will allocate you seats on a first come first served basis. These are NOT guaranteed to be together. If you want to select and guarantee seats together you have to pay for that.

      Have a great flight.


  26. If there is a change of time will we be informed when final payment is made and have we got pay to use online check in

  27. christine mehmet says:

    I a flying with Ryanair with cabin bag only, do I still need to be at airport 2 hours before departure or is 1 hour sufficient

    • Hi there

      Ryanair state that you must be at the boarding gate 30 minutes prior to departure and that boarding closes at 20 minutes prior to departure.

      So you could arrive at the airport as late as you want; however you must allow sufficient time for you to negotiate security and to walk to the gate. Dependent on the airport this may be a long walk. My advice is to arrive no later than one hour prior to departure to give you at least 30 minutes to do the the two steps above. Allow longer if you need to use airport shops and duty free as part of your travel experience.



    • Jordan says:

      I just wanted to make sure this was definitely correct. As I rang Ryanair and the airport and they kept saying they till reccomend i be there 2 hours before. I can n ot make it 2 hours before because im getting on the first train to the airport.


  28. valerie says:

    im flying with Monarch and want to check in at airport so I dont have to pay extra for an allocated seat. Ive only got my name on the booking not my passport number. Is this plus the reference number all I need to take to airport?

  29. valerie says:

    Ive booked flights for myself and a friend on Monarch.I want to check in at airport. Do I just need passports and booking reference numbers?

  30. Gabriella says:


    I have to buy a ticket to fly with jet2 and i want to choose online check in but can i use my ID card for online check in or do you need a passport ?

    and do i have to pay extra for seats with jet2 when i check in ?

  31. Claire says:

    Hi we have allready paid for our seats with jet 2 is there any point checking in online ? Will it make things any easier ?

    • Hi Claire

      You must check-in online with Jet2 or you will incur an additional airport check-in fee of £17.50 per person at the check-in desk.

      Checking in online and printing your boarding cards will save you both time and money at the airport. They also charge for boarding card re-issue if you don’t print them off, so organise this as well before going to the airport.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


      • Hi Bob

        I have been informed I have to pay for online check-in. Booked a package with Expedia and they say I have to pay for optional extras but I have no choice but to check-in.


        • PS Flights with Jet2

          • Hi Mark

            Jet2 make a charge for both online and airport check in as part of the booking. This should have been in your original cost from Expedia as you cannot avoid the costs.

            I would raise it with them.

            Kind regards


  32. lynsey says:

    Hi bob I am confused about this whole online check-in as I have already printed of my voucher /receipt like stated in the emails but I am yet to check in online I’ve had ago on jet2 but it just keeps asking for my booking ref which I entered also once I have done this do I need to print more documents again I’m rather worried as this is all new and so confusing please help

  33. Hi
    I am due to fly with Ryanair to Lanzarote in approx. 3 weeks time and I am really worried about getting everything correct. The package holiday was booked by my friends (7) in total through an online company who are very hard work and, to be honest, I would never have picked. Anyway, they have sent through the booking confirmation but they also mention ringing them if you want to book seats etc., and the boarding passes coming to an email – my worry is that we have not received emails from them as promised even though our information was sent off by email to them etc., and I am worried that the boarding passes will not only not arrive for the outgoing journey but the journey coming back also. My question is – if I go on Ryanair direct and try to book in online – will I be able to do this for both journeys and print out boarding passes now for each also so we do not have to wait for this company to do it – help??

    • Hi there Kate

      If you have your Ryanair booking reference you can go online, retrieve your booking and either pay to reserve seats or accept the seats they give you and print your boarding passes. If you pay for seating you can check in and print boarding passes up to 30 days before your flight. If you accept allocated seats you can only do this from seven days before, so you would probably have to do your return trip in resort.

      If you do not have your Ryanair booking reference then call the travel company you booked through and obtain it to check in yourself.

      I hope that makes sense. You can find more info on online check-in with Ryanair here;

      Good luck.


  34. Elaine says:

    Have booked flexible holiday with Thomas Cook. Outward flight is with Easyjet but I do not have a booking reference for Easyjet only Thomas Cook. Several phone calls later I think we are just to turn up at the airport and report to the Easyjet check in desk – thats if there is one! I’m already stressing about this holiday and I haven’t left home yet! Help.

    • sharon says:

      Do i just need my printed off boarding pass and passport or do i need to print off booking confirmation also for easyjet. Very stressed as printer not working would have to get my son to print it.
      Thanks Sharon.

  35. John veale says:

    i have paid for a name change and i cant check in online because i havent got the original email or reference number what can i do..iam flying early friday morning

    • Hi John

      Contact your airline via their customer service centre and they should be able to give you the reference to allow you to check-in online. They can also explain what you need to do if this is not possible.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  36. Anonymous says:

    When checking in online it asks how many bags im needing to check in, does my hand luggage count towards that or is it just my suitcase?

    • Hi there

      Your check-in bags are the ones that you travel with you in the hold and do NOT include your hand luggage that you take into the cabin.

      Check your individual airline for the limits and allowances for your flight.

      Have a great trip.


  37. Once you have entered details and printed boarding passes on Ryanair online check in is there any way you can look to see that you have entered all the details correctly?

  38. Hi there,

    this may seem a stupid question but I have booked a holiday through a third party for the first time and have received my boarding passes. Does that mean I have checked in because I’m having difficulty checking in with Ryan air online and my holidays on the 28/6

    • Hi Rob

      Do you have your boarding passes for both flying out to your destination and flying back?

      If not you will need to go online to Ryanair and check in, printing them and taking them with you.

      Otherwise ring your travel company and ask them to confirm the arrangements for both ways.

      Kind regards


  39. hi
    i checked in online with jet 2 and saved the boarding pass to my phone because my printer decided it wasnt going to work. what will happen if i dont get the pass printed off in time?

  40. Hi, Bob,

    I realize this is rather tangential to the discussion, but I think you are the person who can shed light on my issue.

    I understand that some airports employ special taxes, the ones on which low cost airlines, such as Ryanair land and depart, such as Charleroi in Brussels. Are these taxes something that we, the clients, need to pay at the airport? If so, where would we pay these taxes, provided we had checked in online? Would we still need to go to the the check-in or is there a special desk for this?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Kris

      nearly all airport taxes are collected via the booking engine as you book and are included in your total ticket price. However some airports around the world may collect them as you check-in or as you depart. There are very few of these to be fair and certainly Charleroi is not one of them. Norwich airport in the UK has a fee of £10 for adults and £5 for children and you pay tis online or at the terminal direct to the airport.

      If you check the website of the airport you are travelling to you should be able to see if a fee is payable and your airline should inform you of this as part of the booking. However it is pretty unusual these days. Where are you travelling to and from and we can look into it for you?

      Kind regards


      • Hi, Bob,

        Thank you for the quick reply + info.

        We’re planning for two trips:
        1. Bucharest (Henri Coanda) Vienna
        2. Bucharest (Henri Coanda) Charleroi

        It’s true that we haven’t gone through the process of booking yet, we hoped we will encounter any taxes then, but we were hoping to know about them beforehand. The airport websites weren’t too helpful :(.

        Many thanks,

        • Hi there.

          I am not aware of any locally paid taxes you will need to pay for those three airports. They should all be included within the online prices when buying a ticket.



  41. Esther says:

    I have just booked a holiday but did not have to give my passport number or other passport information. When will I have to do this?

  42. Ron Gemmell says:

    Hi, I booked 4 people onto a flight to Carcassone last year with Ryanair and checked in last night. Just noticed afterwards that the middle names were not included or asked for when checking in. The booking was made via the Opodo website at the time and I’m pretty sure the middle names were not asked for but have no means of checking this. From earlier comments on this page it looks like Ryanair do not request middle names on booking. Can you please confirm that this is still the case?

  43. Mary Fisher says:

    We haven’t a smartphone, we’re flying with Ryanair on Tuesday 14 July.
    Will not having a smart phone affect us?
    I’ve already printed boarding passes.

  44. Ron Gemmell says:

    Hi Bob – regarding the ‘middle names or no middle names’ comment above for Ryanair.

    They’ve responded to my query and confirmed that only first and last names are required – see extract below

    ‘We wish to inform you that the middle names are not mandatory, we only ask for the first name and the last name during the booking process and these need to match the passport’

    I am actually impressed that they responded promptly, very helpful and professional!



  45. what do i need to book online?

    • Hi Phil

      To book online you basically need a payment method (debit or credit card accepted by your chosen company) and the full details of the passengers travelling so you ensure you get all the names correct.

      Then you are off and away. Its really easy. If you need any more help or advice then please ask.

      Hope that helps.

      Kind regards



    Hi I have a booked a holiday with a few flights the 1st is with BA and thats from heathrow to paris I know i need to check in online and print boarding pass but do i need to do the same to come back or does it class as checked in for return when i 1st do it?..and then i have a flight to spain from paris which i have already checked in with easy jet going to spain..but they didnt ask for passport details etc,is that normal,and checked in with vueling from spain back to paris… so im assuming i would have to ckeck in on the day i go back to london,is this correct?
    many thanks

  47. Kayleigh says:

    I booked a jet2 holiday to Mallorca with the Cooperative and have been unable to ‘manage my booking’, as they apparently do this and I cannot have access, seats are pre-booked but I wonder how the online check-in works – can I still do this from home or do they have to do it for me?

    • Hi Kayleigh

      As you have made a booking with an agent of Jet2 then all changes and amendments to your holiday would be done by them, not directly with the Co-Op.

      However you should be able to check in online from home without any problem and print your boarding passes at the appropriate time. You can check in online from 28 days prior to departure up to 5 hours before departure.

      Have a great holiday

      Kind regards


  48. Jason Timmons says:

    Hi, could you help me with a query. We have booked an holiday through a third party and our flights are with ryanair, they have told us to check our bags in prior to confirming our flights 7 days before. Can we do this because my partner and I thought we would have to confirm flights first (names etc)

    • Hi Jason

      Ryanair online check in starts from 7 days prior to departure up to two hours before your flight. You should check in online, ensuring your full personal information is offered such as names, passport numbers etc. as per their request online and that you indicate the number of bags you are taking into the hold. You can check your booking and add bags to whatever is on your booking at any time before check-in opens.

      You can either watch a video or read all about this here;

      I hope this clarifies the matter.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  49. Hi can i print boarding passes for inbound and outbound at the same time with ryanair i am going to pre book seats , also will i have to checkin on way home its all cofusing me if so how do i do this

    • Hi Dawn

      The information for how to check in on Ryanair is here;

      You can check in and print a boarding pass up to 30 days ahead of your flight IF you choose to pay for a pre-booked seat for each passenger – price from £5.99 each way.

      If you don’t want to select a seat and pay for it you can get a free seat allocation and check in from 7 days prior to departure. Unless you have a short trip you won’t be able to do your return flight until you get to your destination this way.

      Hope this helps and have a great trip.



  50. Charlotte Fordham says:

    Hi I am going to South Korea with Turkish airlines.

    This is the first trip on my own where I am in-charge, so the check in-process is daunting.

    Can you only print your boarding passes after you have checked in? I can only check in online 24 hours before i fly, meaning I can’t print until then, right?

    Your help is very much appreciated! :)

  51. Alastair Martin says:

    Booked holiday through agent flting with Thomas Cook Airlines.

    Have managed to online check in for departure for Saturday 19th but will not allow me to online check in for return in 2weeks.

    How will i get my boarding passses for coming back ?

  52. Teresa says:

    Hi, I am driving elderly relatives to north terminal for 06.30 take off to Naples. They have checked in online and printed boarding passes. Do they still need to be there 3 hours before ?

    • Hi there

      Gatwick can be really busy at that time of morning due to the first wave of flights leaving at that time of day.

      If they have bags to drop off I would allow no less than two hours due to how long it can take to get through security and the distance it may be to reach the gates. I don’t know if they have any walking difficulties, but if they do they could request special assistance which will give them wheelchair transfer from the check-in area to the gate and speeds them through security.

      Kind regards


  53. I have just done on line check with BA for flights tomorrow, it asked how many checked in bags each passenger was taking. I said both passengers would have one each but it may be that one bag will be enough for both of us. Does it matter if we now turn up to the aiport with only one bag instead of two? Our inclusive allowance is for a 23 kg each so no cost implications either way.

    • Hi there Anne

      That would ne no problem at all. Simply tell them at the bag drop point and they will amend your booking details.

      If you were going to turn up with extra bags, again that would not be a problem, however it is always cheaper with BA to book additional hold bags on line before you go the airport.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  54. Tracey says:

    Hi Bob
    My daughter is travelling tomorrow to Australia with Singapore airlines, she has received her boarding pass via email but hasn’t received confirmation… Is this normal?

    • Hi Tracey

      What do you mean by confirmation?

      The boarding pass is issued once online or physical check-in has occurred and indicates the intention to travel.

      A confirmation is issued once a booking is made. there is no need to re-confirm flights with SQ.

      Kind regards


    • Tracey says:

      Thanks Bob for reply X

  55. Hi Bob,

    I’ll fly tomorrow and I have a problem, I don’t know if I have to do check inn on line even if I have a 20kg bag.
    I need some help please!

    Kind regard


  56. hi im flying with rynair. m downloaded their app and have it on my iphone, i have put the reservation code and my email and not its on the app for iphones wallet in passes. I know they usually ask you for your passport information but they havent so i dont know if this is my boarding pass or if I will have to go to one of the bag drops to get it can you help me please

    • Hi Ana

      As I cannot see what you are talking about I cannot verify what you are looking at.

      If you have the app and have checked in a boarding pass can be created to allow you to get through the airport and the gate. This would be saved to your iPhone under the Passbook section

      Try checking in again on your phone and if this still does not work then give them a call to verify it or speak to the staff at the airport. Alternatively you could check in on a standard computer and print the boarding pass. Note that if you arrive at the airport WITHOUT a boarding pass and have not checked in online successfully you will be charged £45/€45 to do it there.

      You can call Ryanair on various numbers dependent on where you are calling from in the world – you can find these here;

      Kind regards and have a great trip.


  57. richard says:

    Hi im flying with monarch tomorrow, my girlfriend has done the check-in online already. Do we have to print boarding passes or is there a option to show them the pass on a mobile phone?

    • Hi there

      Monarch do not as yet have mobile boarding passes. You will need to print your boarding pass out or have it printed at the check-in desks.

      Kind regards


  58. Tony Fowler says:

    I am going on a trip to Rio in early February flying with Iberia out from Madrid ,and British Airways return to Heathrow. I know it is only 24 hours before flights you can check in on line and no problem to print a boarding pass from Madrid to Rio. When I leave Rio I will only have an Android tablet to check in but no printer access. As far as I know, you can’t use a tablet instead of a printout as a boarding pass. I haven’t got a smartphone,just an old type one. What is my best option ?

    • Hi Tony

      There will be no problem in getting a paper boarding pass in Rio for BA, however you should check if you can download the BA app onto your tablet and use the boarding pass equivalent on that. I have seen people using tablets at boarding gates before now so I guess you should be OK.

      Kind regards


      • Tony Fowler says:

        Thanks Bob.
        I looked at BA website about checking in and these magic words came up, ‘If you lose or forget your boarding pass you can print it again at a check-in kiosk at the airport.’ Solves my problem as I can check in 24 hours earlier than flight, on my tablet to get a decent seat. I can then print it off at Rio airport if I haven’t got easy access to a pc and printer.

        • Great stuff – you are sorted now.

          When you check in online with BA it gives you the option for how to receive your boarding pass and collecting at an aitpo5t is one of them.

          Kind regards


  59. Lloyd smith says:

    I’m flying to Barcelona in may with Ryanair,I’ve already reserved my seats so can I still check in 30 days before my flight?

    • Hi there

      You still need to check in and print your boarding pass and can do that at any time within the thirty days if you have reserved specific seating.

      Kind regards


  60. Charles Boyd says:

    i am traveling with Ryanair with 3 others and we have 1 suitcase and 1 golf bag (4 carry on as well), i was wondering how the bag drops works for the golf bag as we have never checked in online with one before.

    • Hi Charles

      You should pre-book the checked in bag and golf bag via your booking online.

      On arrival at that airport take them to the Ryanair bag drop desk where it will be verified that the items have been paid for and are within weight limits etc. You will be issued a baggage receipt for each item. The golf clubs may be required to be taken to an ‘out of gauge’ desk for bulky items, however this varies from airport to airport. On arrival the items will be returned via the luggage reclaim belts.

      Note that if you do not pay on line for these two items it will cost you more at the airport.

      Hope that this helps.

      Kind regards


  61. Robert says:

    Hi. We are due to fly with jet2 soon and for the first time we have booked with on line check in. Can we check in and print boarding cards for our return flight at the same time as the outbound flight?

  62. Anonymous says:

    can I web check in for my name only and not for my friends under same booking reference number? for airasia

  63. Hannah says:

    I have checked in online with Ryan air, I was hoping to save the boarding passes to my computer to print at a later date but the tickets have disappeared.
    Now I have to go through the check in process again to get the boarding passes. I have paid for my seats too, is there another way to bring boarding passes back up

  64. Myra Beckwith says:

    Hello Thomson will not allow me to check in on line. They state that I have to pay to select seats. I asked if there were 3 seats together and they said no. However, they still will not allow me to check in on line and I need to do that in order to put our bags in the night before as I need a boarding pass. It states on their website that you can check in 7 days before. It does not state that you have to pay to select seats in order to do so? I see little point in paying for seats if you are not together anyway – we are a family of 3 and one is a child. Very frustrating – any advice?

  65. We have been told we will have to print off our return boarding passes while on holiday as it can only be done 30 hours prior to flying with Aer Lingus. What if the internet cafe is shut or internet is down? What if the travel people don’t email the link? there’s so much that can go wrong with this, should I cancel the holiday?

    • Hi Jon

      There should be no reason for you to cancel your holiday.

      The worst case is that you would have to have your boarding pass printed at the airport by the airline. However do try and print it ahead of getting to the airport for your return trip.

      Kind regards and have a great trip.


  66. Eleanor says:

    Hello Bob
    We r travelling with Jet2 in 2 weeks . I booked through a booking agent Superior Travel . Today I have received flight voucher hotel accommodation voucher Atol certificate and transfer voucher . It says they do not require API till airport check in . It says on the letter sent by agent to me from Jet2 we can check in online – does this mean we do not need to go the 2 1/2 hours before flight?
    From Confused 1st timer

  67. We fly with Ryanair in May, we have to check in online but haven’t pre booked seats. Do we still check in at the airport as well as online

    • Hi Pat

      When you check in online, if you have not paid for specific seats you will be allocated them and these will print out onto your boarding pass.

      You will only need to go to check-in if you have bags to drop off for the hold.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  68. Hi flying as part of a group next week to faro
    I booked the flights and have 4 boarding passes on my iPhone. Can we just use my phone to show the boarding passes or do I need everyone to login and download their own

    • Easyjet btw

    • Hi Mike

      If you have all passes on one phone that is fine. You just need to ensure that all the party go through security and the gate at the same time as the person with the phone, otherwise they will not be allowed through. You should also ensure your phone is fully charged.

      Kind regards


  69. Hi we have booked a party to go to Florida in August through Kenwood Travel, I have been told that we will receive our details about 3 weeks beforehand. We are flying with BA how do we get the booking reference to go onto BA’s online checkin 24 hours beforehand as KT have told us we can do this then said we do everything at the airport! Just a bit concerned as we have all saved for this holiday and they haven’t directly said they do the api I’ve done all the Esta’s. I asked them for the booking reference number as their booking reference doesn’t register with BA I was told it would all be sorted just I’ve always done our api as soon as we have booked, I’ve not booked through an agent like this before, they have been helpful just I’m worrying about the api and booking our seats 24 hours before


  70. Hi I fly out with monarch who I don’t need to check in online with but I fly back with Ryanair who I do need to check in online with. Can I check in for my return flight before I actually travel out? Because I can check in now for my return but I have not yet left the country

    • Hi Adam

      You can check in for your flight with Ryanair up to seven days before your flight.

      Whether you are in the UK or not at that point is irrelevant.

      Have a great trip.


  71. Hi Bob
    We fly tomorrow with THonas Cook was doing online check in but it does not state what seats you have i am at the boarding pass stage if i click on there and do not like the seats is it to late not to take them

    • Hi Joan

      Unless you have pre-booked seats and paid for them you will be allocated seats online rather than being allowed to choose. All passengers on board will have been allocated them by now and the flight is likely to be full. You can only change seating at the airport, which is likely to be difficult at this point.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


    • its not full and loads of seats left i just wanted to know once i click on boarding pass it will probably tell me seat numbers then next step is confirmation if i don’t click on confirmation does it mean i haven’t accepted seats

      • Joan

        Once you check in on line your seats are confirmed on the boarding passes. You can change these at the airport, the point I was making was that usually at this time of the year charter flights are full and so trying to change them would be more difficult as it would mean the airline moving other people. The airline will assign seating to you unless you -repre-book and pay for specific seats. It is at their discretion as to whether they allow you to change to another seat.

        Kind regards


  72. Daniel says:

    So i have just booked a flight for tomorrow with air asia, from cambodia to thailand. Was about to check in online and realised my girlfriends name has mr before it instead of ms. Should we still check in online or maybe wait for them to do it when we get there? Do you think that is an easy error for them to change. She holds an irish passport. Any info or help would be much appreciated. Thankyou

    • Hi there

      Passports and names must always match and these should be checked before confirming any flights. You should contact Air Asia and get the details changed before checking in to avoid any confusion or excessive fees at the airport. You may be able to get away with it, however if the ground staff are doing their job this will be picked up and you will be forced to pay for he change at airport prices which are always higher than online.

      Kind regards


  73. Allison says:

    I have checked in online and printed my boarding pass however I forgot to check the box that I had a piece of luggage to check. What can I do?

  74. andrea mcgregor says:

    hi I have booked 4 people to fly with Ryan air, however only 2 will be flying now, when I check in online will I still have to check in all 4 or can I just check in 2

    • Hi there

      You should be able to check in just the two people. However my advice is to cancel the two passengers completely so that airline knows they are not shows.

      Kind regards


  75. Nandia says:

    Hi! I need to check in with Ryan Air, received a text with RyanAir Locator Code (Reference) but it doesn’t recognize my email address online or on their App, and can’t find my booking. I booked through ebookers originally, what do I do?

  76. Lorraine says:

    Hi we are travelling to Thailand with British airways. We are going to Bangkok first for 3 days before going to kou Sami. All our flights are with BA. We go Manchester to Heathrow and then Heathrow to Bangkok. Do we have to check in on each flight? And can we do all the return flights as well at the same time

    • Hi Lorraine

      If the reservation is sold as one continuous ticket you should be able to check in for the entire journey rather than separate check-ins.

      Kind regards


  77. julie says:

    Hi ive got my boarding pass on my mobile phone to go to my destination but not to come home what do I need to do

  78. Susan says:

    Please can you answer a question which I have been looking for the answer everywhere:
    I am travelling with Ryanair and before returning I need to check in online however I will not have access to do this as I am staying with family in the middle of the Spanish countryside with no WiFi etc!!How should I go about checking in? Can I also check in for the return flight at the same time as I check in for outbound flight?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Susan

      It all depends on the amount of time between your outbound flight and your inbound flight. You can only check in from seven days prior to each flight and up to two hours before you fly. If you have no mobile internet access or wifi access then I would suggest you locate your nearest place with this to avoid paying for airport check in which will cost you €45/£45 per person

      A video explaining their check in process is here with all the options you have including purchasing an allocated seat which allows you to check in ahead of the seven day window. Its around 2.09 minutes into the video

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  79. sharon says:

    Hi,if you check in online with jet2 ,do you have to print your boarding pass off immediately or can it be done at a later date nearer travel time ??

  80. Hi Bob,

    We booked a holiday to Italy for 2 weeks with my family with Ryanair,but we didn’t choose allocated seats,do we have to do the check in for the return flight when we are there,and is the check in process the same for the return flight?

    • Hi Tim

      Unless you pre-pay for seating you can only check-in one week before. So if your trip is for longer than that you will need to check-in while you are away. Do so before going to the airport as you will then avoid the €45 per person check in fee.

      Kind regards


  81. Sinead says:

    Hi Bob.

    I’m travelling to Latvia next week. Going to Paris with Air France and then onto Riga with Baltic Air. Information at booking said as it is 2 different airlines oust check in and collect my own bags in Paris. However I’m only bringing hand luggage and checking in online. So do I treat that just as transit? I know I go straight to security for the first flight but Do I go directly to my gate in Paris or must I come out and go back through customs and security all over again.

    • Hi Sinead

      As long as you have no checked in luggage and you hold the boarding card for your onward flight you can use transit if it is offered at CDG airport for your transfer.

      Both operate from Terminal 2.

      Kind regards


  82. Jayne says:

    I don’t have a smart phone. If I don’t check in on-line for my return journey home, might I be bumped from the flight? (I’m flying with British Airways).

    Many thanks, Jayne

  83. massimo di mambro says:

    hello i booked jet2 at the agency from italy to manchester.but the agency said that she can’t check in yet, its 3 days before the flight,can you explain me? have i got to wait 1 day before to checkin??

    • Hi Massimo,

      According to Jet2’s website you can check in online from 28 days and up to 5 hours before your departure, so I’m not sure why your agent would be saying they are unable to do so 3 days out.

      Have they given a reason why they are unable to do so? Frequently asked questions about Jet2’s check-in and boarding policy can be found here:


  84. Massimo says:

    Is it possibile to print boardingpass and check in directory at the airport with jet2?

    • Hi Massimo,

      With Jet2, if you have selected to check in online but do not, you will be charged an administration fee on checking in at the airport – currently this fee is 17.50GBP / 26EUR / 700CZK / 105PLN / 28CHF.

      If during the booking process you have chosen to check in at the airport, you should go to the check-in area assigned to your flight number where you should be able to check in and get your boarding pass – check-in desks open two hours prior and will close 40 minutes before your scheduled time of departure


  85. linda hutchinson says:

    Hi B ob i,m going to ireland 10th sept till the 17th sept 2016 and i,m going check in online the 3rd sept but what i,m trying to find out is can i print off both my tickets so i have both with me then i haven,t got to pick trying to find somewhere to print them.

  86. Davis Sharper says:

    Wow cuz this is excellent work! Congrats and keep it up.|

  87. Anonymous says:

    Hi I have booked flights with Ryanair for 3 people (including me) travelling together. Can I use the Ryanair app on my phone for all 3 boarding passes or does everyone have to have their own app?


  88. Diyana says:

    I am flying from Cyprus to Switzerland with Easyjet,I’ve done my chek-in but i was not required to write any passport details,as usual.I recieved my boarding passes,but I am pretty sure something is wrong.I could’t add them,because there is not an option in the “Manage Booking”,there are just 2 option to change the name,and flight.I don’t have any idea what should i do?!!? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Diyana,

      That does seem unusual – I would strongly advise you to call easyJet’s customer service team on 0330 365 5000.

      The only thing I can think of is that if you have flown with easyJet before and entered your details before, they may already have your details…


  89. Hi we are flying with Ryanair next week back from Dublin to Manchester. We have put outr passport details in for our flight there with Airlingus but Ryanair does not have the option to put our passport details in even though we have paid for seats and can print boarding passes? Is that OK does this mean we have checked in?

  90. john powley says:

    Checking in is for the benefit of the airline and not the customer.It is a pain because it means the customer must have access to a computer or pay a high price for a smart phone.It’s nonsense for airlines to brag flying is now paperless because the onus is now on the customer despite having paid for his flight to print out his own boarding passes as well as the chore of checking in. In the good old days the customer paid the fare and the airline did the rest.So much for progress.

  91. In recent years we have checked in online but we still have to queue at the checkout to hand in our cases so it doesn’t save a lot of time. Are we doing something wrong?

    • Hi there,

      You’re not doing anything wrong – you will always have to drop off your bags at the drop-off desk, but this usually has a far smaller queue than the check-in desk. In my experience I’ve rarely had to wait more than 5 minutes to drop my bag off, while I’ve experienced much longer wait times when I’ve needed to check in as well.

      The only way to avoid any wait really is to travel with hand luggage only – although of course this isn’t always possible!


  92. Pauline says:

    We have three connecting flights to South Africa on two ticket numbers.

    Does this mean that we have to check in again for each flight?

    We were originally on one ticket but BA cancelled the first two flights and we had to re-book them, hence the two ticket numbers now.

    Originally we were expecting to just go through the connecting flights way.

    We booked through but they are not answering our messages.

    • Hi Pauline,

      If you are flying with two separate airlines that you have booked individually then it’s more than likely that you will have to check in twice.

      I’d check with Expedia just to be sure though. If they aren’t answering messages try their number: 0330 123 1235, or contact them via social media (companies are more likely to respond when the question is public facing).

      Failing that, you should contact the airlines you are now travelling with. Is this still BA?

      I hope this helps!


      • Pauline says:

        Thank you Joey, I should say that all three flights went well and we only had to check in the baggage once at the first airport.

        Sorry for not replying to you sooner.

  93. Pam Govier says:

    Hi I am flying with Ryan air, I have my boarding pass & reference booking number. When I get to Birmingham airport …can i go straight to the Security queue ..or to I still have to go to the Ryan air check in desk?

    • Hello Pam,

      If you have checked in online, you can go straight to the security queue when you get to the airport. The only reason you would need to go to the Ryanair desk is if you’re checking baggage into the hold.

      Thanks and enjoy your holiday!


  94. Anonymous says:

    Hi, my boyfriend just booked a flight for me but then I found out three days after his booking that my last name and first name are reversed. If I do onlineh check in, will I be able to change my first and last name back to the right order? I am going to fly with Lufthansa airline btw.

  95. Hannah says:

    I have checked in for my flight but I now cannot fly, I need to cancel my flight. How do I do this?

    • Hi Hannah,

      You should contact your airline as soon as possible to explain your situation, they are best placed to help you.


  96. Claire says:

    Hi, I checked in for my flight wit American Airlines tomorrow online but it didn’t ask about if I would have checked baggage when I get there, does this mean I will have to pay extra when I get there? Or do they just not ask when checking in online?


  97. linda says:

    when supplying API and using passport for document – which number off the passport do you put on it, the small number at the top or the long number at the bottom

  98. joyce boffey says:

    I am a party of 10 ladies who have booked their flights individually with Monarch on 22 May. We have a carry on case each, no check in baggage, and a golf bag which we have paid for online.We have checked in online and have our boarding pass. Do we need to queue at the airport to check in or can we go straight to drop our golf bags off at the golf bag area?.

    • Hello Joyce,

      As you are checked in online with only hand luggage, I would think you can go straight to the sports equipment drop off point. However, you may need to get a tag for it at the normal check in first. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly sure what the procedure is for this.

      Your best bet is to contact Monarch through this link for assistance:



  99. I am flying with British Airways and checked in online, when I got to the checked baggage section on the website I mistook this for hand luggage and selected 1, do I need to go to the check in desk or can I ignore this mistake and go strait to security checks as I don’t have luggage to check in?

    • Hi Jay

      I don’t think it will be an issue for you as you’ll be able to print your own boarding pass off and go straight to the gate. You can probably go back into BA’s online check in portal and deselect the checked luggage section as well.



  100. Anonymous says:

    Hi just completed my api with easyjet & checked in :) boarding passes printed . can you tell me is that all i have to do now pls only some people have said i will need an eticket aswell but this hasnt come up anywhere

    • Hi there – if you have your boarding passes printed off with the barcode on them, that will be all your need.

      I believe you can also get the easyJet app in order to have an e-ticket on your phone, but as long as you have the paper version you’ll be fine.


  101. Hi,
    we are family of 6, flying to manila via cathay pacific, i would want to have seats together and our choice of seats. If I check in on line do we need to know check in luggage weight/kg on the time of on line check in?

  102. hello there is a group of us flying out on a Thomas cook flight 5 adults and 3 children we can check in online 24 hrs before we have already booked our seats would we need to put in our passport numbers if we wanted to check in online im not too sure? and can we print off our boarding passes for return as well

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