Having to check in for your flight or hotel is a part of the whole travel experience. The process is in place to register your arrival at a hotel or to signal your intention of taking the flight you booked. Virtually all airlines and most hotels allow you to check in online via the Internet.
Once you complete your check in for a flight, you can print your boarding pass and are ready to travel. Interestingly, most airlines prevent check in until 24 hours before your flight time which can be a bit of a headache when you are in a foreign country. In the world of today with lots of wireless Internet availability, the inconvenience comes down to where you can find a printer.
Are Longer Online Check In Windows The Solution?
Aer Lingus and Ryanair in Europe are on the right track. Customers who have paid for seat selection in advance are permitted to check in up to 30 days before their flight. It is a little known fact and one that is extremely convenient. This window means you can print off a boarding pass for your return flight before you leave.
Another alternative would be for airlines to allow you to print off your return boarding pass at the same time as you check in for your initial outbound flight, regardless when it is. This saves having to think about that last day holiday check in as it will already be complete.
Why Not Remove Check In Altogether?
Check in is used to guarantee your place on a flight, which makes sense since airlines routinely overbook flights to ensure all seats are filled. Failing to check in online and arriving last for your flight could mean all the seats are taken and you will need to take a different flight.
Obviously it is important for people with connecting flights to be guaranteed to get on the subsequent flights but is check in actually needed? The fact you have a booking and are at the check in or bag drop desk should be enough to let them know you are planning to travel that day.
Considering that airport check in is being increasingly replaced by bag drop, the whole thing seems superfluous to me. People paying for bags usually do so at the time of booking or can add bags later which gives the airline an indication of how much baggage is on the way. Seat assignment seems to be the main issue and I am still trying to work out a solution for that in my head.
What are your thoughts and ideas on this? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
Featured image via oneworld and laptop image by Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash.