4 Tips on Getting a Faster and easier Check-In

Airports can be the most intimidating places to navigate and all you want as a traveller is to get on the plane and get to your destination.  Due to the increased security, sheer volume of flights and passengers, it has become an increasingly intense process. Even though there have been many advances in technology such as self service kiosks, remote check-in via the internet and even iPhone bar codes that scan at the security check point, it still is a very time-consuming process.  No longer can you can turn up 20 minutes before your flight leaves, airlines have a cut-off time now of 40 to 60 minutes before the flight departs.

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So here are 4 suggestions that will hopefully make this whole stressful experience less so, when going through the check-in process.

1. Be travel-wise

To avoid wasting valuable time checking in with the wrong carrier, you must find out which airline you have booked your reservation with rather than potentially queuing with the carrier that marketed the flight and then being told when you get there that you are actually travelling with another carrier.  Many have done it, particularly if it is a codeshare flight.

2. Forward planning, get the timing right

Always, always, always plan in plenty of time for cues. They will be there, there is no avoiding them.  As security has become such a big issue these days they can take even longer than the check-in process.  Also plan extra time for unforeseen problems as some airlines will allow you to check-in your bags 4 hours prior to departure.

Be aware that there is no way of speeding up the process if you are running late.  The only special circumstances where the airport staff will assist you may be due to, problems with your ticket, taking disabilities into account or you being classified as an elite traveller.

3. Know the baggage policy

The fees for checked baggage change frequently so it is important to check with the airline what they are before you arrive.  Airlines often have a scale near the check-in lines to check the weight of your baggage so that you have time to avoid embarrassment and extra fees before you get to the desk.  The best way is to prepare beforehand of course, and scales that work well are the hand held ones, especially as they are very accurate.

It is useful to know that if you are flying with two or three different carriers on an international journey then it is the over-the-water carrier that determines the rules regarding the baggage, thus if you check beforehand you need to check all the airlines you will use for your journey.

Remember also that:

  • It may not be the original airline that checks your bags at the final destination.
  • It may not be the original airline that issues the boarding passes for a connecting flight.
  • When travelling in Economy the weight limit of hand luggage is usually 50Ibs (22.5kg) per bag, however in business or first class you may be allowed up to 3 free bags per person.
  • The room in the hand luggage compartments on the plane is limited so it is not wise to fill your hand luggage to the brim, at the risk of not being able to get them out once you have managed to squeeze them in!  The only option at that stage is to take out the contents of the bag with an on board audience.

4. Be an early bird and check again

It can be wise to book an early morning flight for a couple of reasons, the first is that flights are more likely to leave on time and the second is that if there are any problems, or your flight is delayed then there are more possibilities to get you on a flight on that day.

If you book well in advance of your flight you should check on your flight schedule before your flight as they tend to change every 2 or 3 months and so it is quite likely that the time or day that you fly could be different to the original booking.

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