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The Check In Process: Can You Do it Online?

Jonathan Chum
Jonathan Chum

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Flying can be expensive. Once you go through the process of booking a ticket, you may think you have everything you need to fly. The answer is that this is not the case. Your ticket is not the same thing as your boarding pass. In order for you to actually get on the plane, you need to check in for your flight. That is when you will actually get the boarding pass that allows you to sit on the plane. If you take a look at your ticket, you will notice that it does not have a seat assigned. That is where your boarding pass comes in handy. Fortunately, you might be able to check in online. 

So, can you check in online? Are there situations where you cannot check in online? There are several important points to keep in mind. We will cover: 

  • How you check in online 
  • When you might not be able to check in online 
  • Common issues you may encounter during the check-in process 

Learn more about the process of checking in below! 

How To Check In Online

When you go to the airport, you are going to spend a lot of time standing in line. Wouldn’t it be better if you can reduce the amount of time you spent standing in line? One way you can do exactly that is to check in online. That way, you do not have to stand in line for your boarding pass.

When you book your flight, you should receive a confirmation email. This confirmation email should have a confirmation code on it. Take a look at this code, navigate to the airlines home page, and use this confirmation code to retrieve your boarding pass. This confirmation code will let you go through the check-in process online. Keep in mind that you will not be able to use this confirmation code to check in for your flight until 24 hours before it departs.

After you enter the confirmation code, you will have to navigate through a few steps. The airline will ask you if you are planning on checking any bags, if you would like to upgrade your seating assignment, and will probably ask you to pick a seat. Then, the airline will send you your boarding pass, which will allow you to get on the plane. 

When You Might Not Check In Online

In the vast majority of cases, you should be able to go through the check-in process online. This will save you a significant amount of time at the airport. There are a few situations where you might not be able to check in online.

First, if you are flying internationally, you will probably not be able to check in online. The airline has to make sure that your passport is still valid when you arrive at the airport. Therefore, when you are flying internationally, you should allow extra time. You are going to have to stand in line at the check-in desk so the airline can verify your passport. That is the only way you will receive access to your boarding pass. Even though you might be able to partially complete the check-in process online, you will probably not be able to complete it until you get to the airport.

Second, if you booked a specific type of ticket called a “basic economy” ticket, you will probably not be able to complete the check-in process online. A basic economy ticket usually does not allow you to pick out your seat before getting to the airport. The airline wants to allow people who paid extra money to pick out their seats online. Then, you simply get whatever is left. If you are willing to pay for your seating assignment, you may be able to complete the check-in process online. On the other hand, the point of booking a basic economy ticket is to save money. Therefore, you may not be able to check in until you get to the airport.

Finally, if you are planning on checking any luggage, you may not be able to finish the check-in process online. The airline has to screen and verify any luggage that you are checking beneath the plane. Therefore, you will probably not be able to finish the process online; however, you may still be able to reserve your seat.

Problems During the Check-In Process

As you go through the check-in process, you may encounter a few problems. First, if you do not have your confirmation code, you may not be able to complete the check-in process online. This is usually sent to you in an email immediately after booking your flight. Second, if you are trying to reserve your seat and notice there are no seats available, the flight may be oversold. Because you paid for your ticket, the airline still has to provide you with access to a seat on the plane. If the flight is really oversold in the airline cannot give you a seat, the airline may ask for volunteers to give up their seat in exchange for compensation. This is something that you will have to weigh. Finally, if you are flying internationally, you may be blocked from completing the check-in process online. Make sure you bring your passport with you so you can complete the check-in process at the airport.

Streamline the Process of Checking In 

Ultimately, you should be able to check in for your flight online. You want this to proceed as smoothly as possible. Therefore, make sure you have your driver’s license and/or passport in front of you as you go to the check-in process. You should also have your confirmation email with your confirmation code on it. That way, you will be ready to go when the check-in window opens. If you want to get the best seats possible on the plane, you should try to check in as soon as the check-in window opens. That way, you can reserve your seat before they are all taken.


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