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How Does Online Check in Work?
Checking in online is pretty much the standard now for budget airlines. I had my first experience of online check-in a few weeks ago and I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I didn’t really understand it. For those like me who weren’t entirely clear on the process of online check-in, here’s how it works. Not all airlines processes will be the same but in general it goes like this:
1. When you buy your flights, you choose to either check in online or check in at the airport. Generally you have to pay for either option but online check in is usually the cheaper of the two!
2. Now the onus is on you to check in online. From around 28 days to around 5 hours before you travel, you should visit the website of your carrier and click ‘check in online’. You will be required to login using either the email address and password you registered at the time of purchase and/or your booking reference which will have been emailed to your registered email address.
3. On the online check in screen you will be required to enter the details of each member of your party including the passport number. These details will need to exactly match the details on the passport of each traveller. Once this is complete you will be asked to print out a boarding card for each memeber of your party, for each leg of your journey (outbound and inbound). These boarding cards must be kept safe as you will need to take them to the airport with you.
4. When you arrive at the airport for your flight you will have to do one of two things.
a) If you have hand luggage only then you’re laughing, as this is where online check in is a great help. You can happily proceed directly to security.
b) If you have a suitcase or bag that you need to load into the hold of the plane, you will need to head to the bag drop desk of your airline. This looks and acts exactly like the regular check in desks and the desk number for your flight will be shown on the electronic display boards as per usual. In fact the whole process seems to work in the exacy the same way as if you were checking in normally, with the one exception that you print your boarding cards yourself.I fail to see how the process is really any quicker – Ho hum.
5. Proceed as normal. The procedure works in the exact same way on the return leg.
What if I forget to check in online / forget my boarding card?
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 have a new boarding card printed for you at the airport. This may incur an extra fee, sometimes in the region of £40! So make sure you keep a tight grip on those boarding passes.
So there you have it – a brief guide to online check in’s. Hopefully this has answered all your queries but if you would like to know anything else about this topic or have any questions, just leave them in the comments on the right and I will do my best to respond with the answers.