Online check-in for a flight is a relatively simple way for travelers to use the Internet and computer capabilities to make travel easier and faster. All the traveler needs is Internet access, a printer, and an e-ticket for his flight. Although the process can be slightly different depending on the airline, in most cases, all you need to do is go to the site, click on the check-in icon, login or enter your confirmation number, and print out your boarding pass.
Airlines have various methods for checking in online, but the end result is that the traveler alerts the airline that he or she will be taking the flight, and also has a valid boarding pass upon entering the airport terminal. With a valid boarding pass, the traveler can check bags — if necessary — at the curb, then can go directly to the security checkpoint and proceed to the gate, all without having to check in at the terminal. Aside from saving the traveler a great deal of time, it also allows travelers who have ticketing issues or who are buying tickets to receive faster service at the ticket counter.
Online check-in is usually a simple procedure. The traveler goes to the airline's Web site and looks for the link to check in. He should always make sure he is in the correct window for the check-in process, since most airlines allow only online check-in from 24 hours to about 90 minutes before the flight. Once the traveler has accessed the site, he may enter his reservation confirmation number for her e-ticket, his frequent flyer number, or just his name, and the system will access the reservation and ask the traveler to confirm his itinerary. He may also be able to make any seating changes at this time.
When the traveler confirms the information, he will be prompted to print his boarding passes for the outbound leg of the journey. He will need to go through the procedure again before he leaves his destination, if he has the option to do so. If the flight isn't non-stop, he will be issued boarding passes for each of the flights on the outbound leg. The boarding pass or passes will print and he will receive a confirmation that he has checked in. The only remaining task is the drive to the airport.
Online check-in is a boon to large airports. With so many people flocking to ticket counters to change or upgrade reservations, use their paper tickets, buy tickets, ship goods, and to conduct other business, every person who can check in online means shorter wait times for those who must check in at the counter and better use of the airline's resources. It is a great option for the computer savvy traveler.