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Airline Check in Hell

Holiday Extras top tips for travellers

Bored with the bun fight, the queues, the waiting and the hassle? Check out our essential guide that no one should be without when flying.

One additional tip for you- if you are parking at Gatwick use Park Plus - its the only Parking service that has buses running to the departures level - all other buses drop you at arrivals.

Passengers now have a number of options when they check-in for flights - on-line check-in, telephone check-in, WAP check-in, kiosk or auto check, twilight check-in or counter check-in at the airport. Not all airlines offer all these services and times to check in vary depending on your destination and your carrier - As a rule of thumb we would advise that you allow two or three hours prior to your flight for airport counter check-in - but you do need to contact your individual airline carrier to find out a definitive check-in time.

The on-line check-in service saves passengers a lot of time and hassle - The airlines generally have a separate desk for passengers that have booked on-line. You can avoid the queues this way - if you haven't tried it yet give on-line flight check-in a try - you will congratulate yourself all the way to your departure gate!

The airline that really leads the way for off-airport check-in services is Lufthansa - they have provided a Quick Check-in reference book on their website with the aim of shaking off the myth and confusion surrounding the ways and means of travel that involve Technology.

Using the more convenient airport check-in systems are second nature for the canny frequent flyer but some of us get left behind when the accepted description of the technology falls to easy use of acronym and jargon - These methods are designed by people who want to make our travelling plans easier - not to make us feel inadequate - so here's one question...

Avoid the Check-in queues

What is WAP?

To use WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) you need to have the use of a WAP equipped mobile phone - The system is similar to the traditional internet - The phone has the ability to display web pages redesigned for the small screen size of the phone. You can be notified of any delays on the spot and avoid unnecessary frustration.

There's another one.. What is SMS?

Short messaging Service - it's a TEXT - why didn't they say that in the first place? So the front-runner in airline Check-in via SMS is Singapore airlines - Singapore Airlines offers an SMS Check-in service where you can check-in for your flight via text 48 hours before your departure. On the Singapore airlines website it is very easy to locate the SMS Check-in page - there is a search box on the top right hand corner - Just type in SMS and you're there!
The SMS web page is very clearly written and takes all the doubt out of using this excellent service - If you are travelling with Singapore airlines use one of clearly explained check-in services - Singapore Airlines also offer - Internet Check-in from 2 to 48 hours before departure and telephone/fax check-in at Singapore Changi Airport. The Telephone/Fax facility is available from 6.30am to midnight in Singapore. You can check in from 48 hours to 2 hours before flight departure.

For travellers flying from Singapore - Singapore airlines also offer a check-in service for travellers at Singapore Airlines Service Centre at Paragon. Check in is available as early as 48 hours, - no later than 2 hours from the scheduled departure time of your flight. other details of this service are available on their website page Downtown Check-in - Thumbs up for Singapore Airlines... Fabulous Service!!

OK... We are getting there... one more - What is a Kiosk Check-in?

A Kiosk check-in can be effected for a flight with an airline that has installed a kiosk at a given airport - For instance Virgin Atlantic have installed kiosks at Heathrow airport so if you are flying with Virgin from Heathrow you can check in for flights between 1 to 9 hours prior to departure. Kiosks open from 0600-2100 - This service is available to all Virgin Atlantic customers with a few exceptions that are clearly laid out on their DIY check-in page We have provided a link to that page here - on their website it is not so clear to access but if you look on the right hand side of the homepage you'll see a section on Short Cuts and the DIY check-in page is within this section.

We have compiled a guide of Services that are currently available with a selection of airlines - this is correct at this time but if you are in any doubt, due to changed circumstances, please contact the individual airlines.

Note: Due to heightened security some customers may not be able to check-in online.

Twilight Check-in

This rather romantic terminology means that you check in for your flight the day before it leaves, works well if you live near the airport, or are staying in an airport hotel.

At London Gatwick airport a Twilight, or Day Before, airport check-in programme is being trialed. Passengers flying with Thomson, Excel Airways, MyTravel and Thomas Cook Airlines can check in at a dedicated desk from 4pm to 10pm the night before they fly. The next morning they avoid the queues and go straight to security. If you are off on holiday this summer and flying with one of these airlines earlier than midday. Take the opportunity to check in your bags, have your seats assigned and collect boarding cards the evening before. The ideal opportunity to relax in an airport hotel the night before your flight and enjoy breakfast!!

The Twilight Service Check-in at Gatwick opens in Zone E of the South Terminal from 16:00-22:00hrs the evening before departure. If you are collecting your tickets at the airport you won't be able to use this service.

Airlines at Gatwick offering Night Before Check-in

British Airways Twilight Check-in

British airways Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
16:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All flights departing the next day prior to 15:15. Check-in using the Self Service Check-in kiosks between 16:00 and 22:00 and deposit your baggage at the Fast Bag Drop in
Zone C
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in

First Choice Twilight Check-in First Choice Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
12:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All departures before 09:00
Charge: £5 per passenger, bookable in advance with First Choice.
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in, with the exception of families travelling under the same surname; adults can check in on behalf of children under 12 years of age. The service is not available to those passengers collecting their tickets on the day of departure. The service is not available to passengers travelling with ski, snowboard or sports equipment.
easy jet Twilight Check-in easyJet Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
20:00 - 08:30
Eligible flights: Eligible flights are only those departing prior to 08:30 the following day.
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in
Excel Twilight Check-in Excel Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
16:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All departures before before 12:00 midday.
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in. Excludes those passengers collecting tickets at the airport.
My travel Twilight Check-in My Travel Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
16:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All departures before 12:00 midday
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in. Excludes those passengers collecting tickets at the airport.
thomas Cook Twilight Check-in Thomas Cook Twilight Check-in
Opening hours:
16:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All departures before before 12:00 midday.
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in. Excludes those passengers collecting tickets at the airport.
Thompson Twilight Check-in Thompson Twilight Check-in
Opening hours: 16:00 - 22:00
Eligible flights: All departures before before 12:00 midday.
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in. Excludes those passengers collecting tickets at the airport.
Virgin Atlantic Twilight Check-in Virgin Atlantic Twilight Check-in
Opening hours: 17:00 - 21:00
Eligible flights: All departures
Charge: Free
Other conditions: All passengers must be present at check-in.

Off Airport Check-in

(Online / Email, Phone, SMS, Fax, WAP)

Airport check-in choices include Telephone, SMS, and Fax check-in services and check-in via internet with on-line airport check-in, email, WAP (Wireless Access Protocol), Kiosk check-in and Twilight

With these methods you can enjoy the convenience and confidence of confirming your flight and select your seating. When you get to the airport, checked-in passengers collect their boarding passes and deposit their hold baggage at express airport counters.

Airline Check-in Alternatives

American Airlines

American Airlines
Online Check-in:
For travel within the U.S. on a domestic electronic ticket. available if your flight departs in less than 24 hours but more than 1 hour.

Kiosk Check-in: US domestic passengers.

Website: www.aa.com

Air Canada

Air Canada
Online Check-in:
24 hours or as late as 1 hour before departure for flights within Canada, 1.5 hours before U.S. departures and 2 hours before for selected international flights.

Website: www.aircanada.com

Air France

Air France
On line Check-in:
Between 24 hours and 30 minutes before the Check-in deadline for your flight. If you are travelling with an electronic ticket.

Kiosk Check-in: At a number of airports equipped with self check-in terminals.
Website: www.airfrance.com

China Airways
China Airlines
On line Check-in:
10 hrs to 2 hrs before flight departure time, from 0600 hrs to 0000 hr.

Website: www.air-china.co.uk
British Airways
British Airways
On line Check-in:
24 hrs prior to flight departure time.
Website:
www.britishairways.com

British Midland

 

British Midlands
On line Check-in:
From 24 hours before your flight -up to one hour before departure.
Telephone Check-in: Hand baggage only in business, a premium economy fare, or are a diamond club member.
Twilight Check-in:
Transatlantic check-in at Manchester airport open between 19:00 and 22:00hrs at the bmi check-in desk 59 in Terminal 1, and London Heathrow Terminal 1, at any desk in zones A,B and C.

Website: www.flybmi.com

Cathay Pacific

 

Cathay Pacific Airways
On line Check-in: Asia miles and Marco Polo members, bookings and tickets purchase online  - available 48 hrs to 90 mins before to flight departure time.
Website : www.cathaypacific.com
continetal Airlines

Continental Airlines
On line Check-in:
Between 60 minutes and 24 hours before scheduled departure. Not available for flights departing from: Brussels(BRU), Dublin (DUB), Grand Cayman Island (GCM), Geneva(GVA),Shannon, (SNN); Paris (CDG); and Zurich, (ZRH).

Website: www.continental.com

Delta
Delta
On line Check-in:
For US domestic flights and Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Kiosk Check-in:
Check in and get your boarding passes for US Domestic flights, review your itinerary and seat assignment, check your flight status and request a receipt for your e-ticket. Delta has over 800 kiosks in over 90 cities. Scan your passport for International check-in at some locations.
Website: www.delta.com
air india

Air India
On line Check-in:

From India/UK/USA opting for E-Ticket can book up to 6 hours ahead.
From New York(JFK/EWR) & Chicago can book up to 6 hours ahead
From Los Angeles(LAX) and Toronto(YYZ) can book up to 12 hours ahead - Check website for other Indian domestic flight options.
From all other Air India cities can book up to 7 days in advance
Kiosk Check-in:
10 hrs to 2 hrs before flight departure time, from 0600 hrs to 0000 hr.

Website :http://www.airindia.co.in

Iberia

Iberia
On line Check-in:
Print boarding card from one day before flight up until 2 hours before departure.

Kiosk Check-in: Autocheck-in machines are available at selected airports.

Website :  www.iberia.com

easyjet

easyJet
On line Check-in:
Online check-in is now available on all flights departing our UK airports for passengers carrying hand baggage only. This means that you can check-in online and print out your boarding pass any time after making your booking and up until 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight.

Website :www.easyjet.com

emirates

Emirates
On line Check-in:
Check-in online between 2 and 12 hours before your flight departure.

Website: www.emirates.com/uk

EVAAIR

Eva Air
On line Check-in:
From 24 hours up to 3 hours before departure - confirmed bookings only.

Website : www.evaair.com

KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
On line Check-in:
24 hrs to in at least 2 hours before scheduled departure, in many cases earlier.

Telephone Check in: Open from 24 hours prior to flight departure time. Check in at least 2 hours before scheduled departure.

Website: www.klm.com.sg

Lufthansa Lufthansa
Kiosk Check-in:
Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanover, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg and Vienna. Over 300 Quick Check-in kiosks worldwide are available for your use.
WAP: wap.lufthansa.com     
Website: www.lufthansa.com
Monarch

Monarch
On line Check-in:
Available if flying from Manchester and Birmingham airports only from 24 to 4 hours prior to departure, or from 36 hours if you are a member of Vantage Club.

Website: www.flymonarch.com

singapore airlines

Singapore Airlines
On line Check-in:
Available 2 to 48 hours before departure. Now you can print your boarding passes online.

Telephone/fax check-in at Singapore Changi Airport.

SMS: Register on-line at www.singaporeair.com

Website: www.singaporeair.com

virgin atlantic

Virgin Atlantic
On line Check-in:
Flights are available for online check in from our departure airports in the UK, US, South Africa, Australia, India, China, UAE and Japan from 24 hours to 2 hours prior to scheduled departure.

Kiosk check-in: At Heathrow airport - check in for flights between 1 to 9 hours prior to departure. Kiosks open from 0600-2100

Website: www.virgin-atlantic.com

ryanair

RyanAir
On Line check-in
: Online check-in is available from 2 days up to 4 hours before the scheduled flight departure time.

Website: www.ryanair.com