How To Check In At The Airport – Checking In Made Easy

How To Check In At The Airport – Checking In Made Easy

Things can easily get a bit overwhelming when you’re flying somewhere for the first time. Or maybe it’s just been a while and you don’t remember? This guide will help you to know how to check in at the airport.

Things certainly have changed in the last few years and more and more you can check in online or check in at a kiosk at the airport for both, domestic and international flights.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have to check your luggage in at the airport though. But sometimes it might be even easier than you think. Don’t worry, we’ll talk you through all the different options and scenarios.


Check In At A Self-Serve Kiosk At The Airport

Domestic Flights

Many times you are able to check in at a self-serve kiosk in the departure area. The self-serve kiosk will give you prompts to follow for checking in and printing your boarding pass.

You can also print bag tags at the kiosk before dropping them at the bag drop. If you need help at any time there are usually customer service agents around to give you a hand with using the self-service, attaching the bag tags and guiding you in the direction of the bag drop point.

The first thing you will have to do at the kiosk is identify yourself using your flight confirmation number, or your frequent flyer number or even a credit card.

Then you will confirm your flight information and next you will be able to choose your seat. If you’re tempted to change your seat (if there are any free seats available) make sure you don’t accidentally choose one that might cost you more (unless you really want to upgrade of course).

The next thing you will be asked is whether you have any bags you will need to check. Confirm how many bags and if there are additional fees confirm those too. You will receive bag tags alongside your boarding pass which you can attach to your luggage and continue to the bag drop.

Other things that you might be able to do at the self-serve kiosk are:

  • viewing your flight booking details
  • checking in for your return flight if it is on the same day and within 12 hours of your departure and if you only have carry-on luggage
  • Changing to an earlier flight (check your conditions on your ticket)
  • putting in your Frequent Flyer details and upgrading your flight with FF points

Domestic Flights Departing From International Terminals

If you’re catching a flight that’s departing from an international terminal although you are only flying domestically (usually a connecting flight to or from somewhere internationally), you might have to use the international check-in.

This also means you will have to get to the international terminal and you will need photo ID. These flights usually require you to check in much earlier than a domestic connection. (Domestic flights check-in should be at least 1 or 2 hours before the flight and international flights at least 2 or 3 hours beforehand.)

International connections (even though you’re only flying to another airport in your own country) are usually subject to international security screenings and you will also have to abide by the liquids rule.

International Flights

As mentioned above, flying internationally will have certain other rules attached to it, such as arriving at least 2 or 3 hours earlier at the airport and having to go through international security screenings and abiding by the liquids rule for your carry-on luggage.

Apart from that you are able to just check in the same way at the kiosk as mentioned above. Follow the prompts, identify yourself, confirm information, choose your seat or change it, confirm your luggage and print out your boarding pass and bag tags. Then attach the bag tags and drop your bags at the bag drop.

There should always be customer service agents close-by to assist you with checking in, or helping you with your bags or just pointing you in the right direction.

Reasons You Might Not Be Able To Use Self-Serve Check-In

Should the self-serve kiosks be unavailable (or maybe there is no self-service where you’re flying from) you can always continue to a check-in counter of your airline. You will need to have our booking reference, e-ticket, passport and any other relevant travel documents.

Some other reasons that might stop you from using the self-service might be:

  • You don’t have the correct visa
  • You are an unaccompanied minor
  • You have special needs
  • You’re traveling on a paper ticket instead of an e-ticket
  • You’re part of a large group

In any of those cases proceed to the next available check-in counter of your airline or ask one of the customer service agents for assistance.

How To Check In Online

If you are eligible for online check-in it will usually be available 24 hours before your flight. In case that you haven’t checked in already you will get a notification via text message or email from your airline saying that you are able to do so.

There are many times two options available to you. Go straight to your airlines website check in page or use an app.

Checking In Using The Airline Website

This can be done on your computer or tablet or phone. You just type in your airline’s website address and find the check-in page.

You will just have to follow the prompts again using your name and booking reference to find and confirm your information, choose your seats and will then receive a digital boarding pass. You don’t usually have to print out a digital boarding pass.

If you’re traveling domestically and don’t have any bags to be checked that is usually all you have to do.

If you need to check bags you will still have to go to the self-serve kiosk before your departure and get your bag tags and attach them to your bags before dropping them off.

Remember to give yourself enough time to do so and if you’re traveling internationally remember you will need extra time for security screenings and customs. The queues can get quite long for international flights.

Checking In Using An App

Many airlines these days have apps available to help you check in even quicker and more conveniently. The app might come in especially handy if you’re a frequent traveler.

To get the app, you will have to download and install it from the App Store or Google Play.

It’s basically the same in terms of checking in, but you won’t have to confirm your identity every time.

The app will have certain advantages for you, such as:

  • using just a few simple taps to check in
  • viewing your boarding pass from the home screen of your app
  • know first thing when check-in is available
  • get real time information about flight departure time, gate information and where to collect your bags
  • get traffic information and the best route to avoid traffic and be on time
  • view all options available to you for you upcoming flight such as seating and entertainment

Most people will be eligible for online or app check-in and usually it falls in the same categories mentioned above to not be eligible, i.e. specific or special needs, a child traveling alone, not in possession of the correct visa, using a paper ticket instead of e-ticket or you’re part of a large traveling group.

You can see that checking in is quite easy and if you’re able and eligible to use the online or kiosk check-in you can save yourself some time standing in a queue. Just make sure to leave yourself enough time to get to the airport and drop off your luggage if you have to. And don’t forget any of your important documents!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments and I will get back to you soon.

Safe and happy travels!

10 Replies to “How To Check In At The Airport – Checking In Made Easy”

  1. Hello, thank you so much for this excellent article which has come at just the right time for me. I am going on a tour with my family and it’s the first time we will be travelling by airplane and I’m kind of nervous concerning the processes involved at the aiport. 

    However, I never knew the process of checking in is this easy. I really hope we are eligible for the mobile check in and with that, I won’t be afraid of not doing anything stupid. 

    1. You’ll be just fine! See if you can do the mobile check-in or the kiosk check-in and remember, you can always ask for help. 

  2. This sounds so easy to do with the online check-in. How did I not know this? Odd that I’ve never got a message from the airline… I’ll have to look into that. Would make things so much easier. I’ll bookmark your page.

  3. This is a really great post here, travelling has always being my thing and I normally queue, I didn’t know I could actually do it online or use the kiosk. 

    I think this is something I’ll make enquiries about. I think I’d prefer the online check in, it’ll be good since I can just use my phone and make some quick taps. Thank you for the Eye-opener.

    1. Yes, do check it out, it can make life so much easier just by being able to avoid one of the queues. And you are very welcome. 

  4. I had no idea airports and airlines allowed remote or kiosk check-in. I have never flown anywhere due to fear, mostly. I am not afraid to fly. I think I might actually enjoy it. What scares me is being trapped in a crowd.

    Reading your post takes some of the edge off. I have family that travels and one of the things I always hear from them is how irritating checking in, baggage check, etc is. I am not a patient person when surrounded by strangers, but I think if I could check in from home or an app I might be okay.

    If I can just go in, confirm a few details, drop my bags and wait somewhere quiet for my flight, I might actually talk myself into flying one of these days.

    Thank you so much for this information.

    Gwendolyn J

    1. Well anything that would make it easier for you is definitely worth a try, right? 

      Especially if you’re flying domestically and only take a carry-on, you might be able to do the online check in and then go straight to your gate on the day of your flight, without any more contact with other people or big crowds. 

  5. Hi, am moved by your educative form on how flight check in is done, I can say, it can be so challenging if it’s the first time using a flight or even when you haven’t been on a flight in a while.

    I didn’t know domestic flights check in should be at least 1 to 2 hour before the flight and international flight at least 2 to 3 hour before hand, I have been using international flights and i thought both international and domestic check in time is the same. 

    What I love about the airports today is you can never get lost cos there always be a customer service agents close by to assist you with checking in or help you with your baggage  or just pointing you in the right direction. 

    I have never tried the online check in, but through your quality article and the way you have explained,  I guess  I have to try cos it looks quite convenient. 

    Regards Bruce. 

    1. Thank you for your comment! Well, you can’t go wrong showing up earlier for domestic flights as well. As long as you don’t leave it too short, that’s the main thing. 

      Yes, there is always someone you can ask, but some airports can get a bit tricky if you are in a hurry to get a connecting flight. 

      Do try the online check-in, it makes things so much easier and quicker. 

      Thanks for stopping by. 

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