Online check-in for your flight is pretty ubiquitous these days, and on a few select airlines, it’s a necessity to avoid ridiculous fees and charges. Personally, I do like the online check-in so I can just double-check my flights, get the seats I want, and feel like everything is all setup like I want before heading to the airport.
More things can go wrong with printing your online boarding pass than just your home printer running out of ink. Here are a few tips to ensure things go off without a hitch.
1. Use it. The 5-10 minutes of time shaved off my arrival at the airport has saved me many times. Most airports have rather efficient security queues – it seems to me the chaos is often at check-in. Skip the queue if you can. And often you can get discounts on paid bag check or other services when paying ahead.
2. Check your seats while you’re there. While you’re on the check-in, scope out the seat map – sometimes you can pop into a better seat last minute.
3. Go for the paper boarding passes. Those mobile passes are just not there yet. Many of the airports I’ve been to only have 1 scanner for several security podiums (and in many airports, such as the supposedly high tech town of Seattle, the security agents didn’t seem to have a solid process for sharing the reader). The bar code is hard to scan, and it’s just too glitchy for me to risk having to go back out of the queue to get a paper boarding pass if something goes wrong.
4. Check before you check in. When you buy a ticket, make sure you confirm how early you can check-in, and if the online check-in is available. If you’re travelling internationally, you might not be able to check in all the way, but you might be able to input your passport and other identification info, making your airport arrival a little more smooth.
5. Careful with Codeshares. Are you flying an airline codeshare? You should be able to access your reservation from either airline, with the final checkout directing you to the airline who is actually flying the flight. When in doubt, head for the website of the airline who is actually flying you.
6. Last but not least, don’t forget your print outs. I always put a copy of my itinerary in my carry-on bag, so I have the reservation number (known as the “PNR”), and of course the flight details as I always forget. But if you print out online board passes, take them off the printer and straight away put them in your bag, so you don’t forget. (I may or may not have done that before.)
Photo by comedy_nose
Posted : Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 10:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.