With most airlines offering travelers robust websites to print paper boarding passes and mobile apps that give you electronic ones, there's no reason why you ever need to go to an airline check-in desk. Online check-in saves time and waiting.
Advantages for the Passenger
- Airlines allow you to check in up to 24 hours before a flight.
- You can print boarding passes from any printer, or download an electronic one on your smartphone that will get you past security and onto your flight.
- Travelers can make changes to their itinerary or confirm seat assignments.
What You'll Need to Check-in Online
- Your frequent flyer number (or other login information as outlined by the airline you are using such as the credit card that was used to pay for the ticket).
- An airline electronic ticket that is paid for.
- A printer to print the boarding pass, or a smartphone to download the boarding pass. Alternatively, you can have a boarding pass reprinted at check-in or at a self-serve kiosk.
Check-in Online With These Global Airlines
Aeromexico: The country's flag carrier allows travelers to check in up to 48 hours in advance for Mexico domestic flights and 24 hours in advance for international flights up to two hours before flight departure time. The carrier uses either a reservation/ticket number or a frequent flyer account.
Air Canada: Canada's flag carrier requires a name, a booking number and departure city to print a boarding pass or upload it to a smartphone.
Air China: The country's flag carrier allows online check-in either using a passport number or a ticket number. After choosing your flight and seat, your boarding pass can be printed or emailed.
Air France: The Paris-based airline allows travelers to check in up to 30 hours in advance in four steps. Log in with the carrier's Flying Blue frequent flyer card number, ticket number or reservation number. Choose the passengers and flight number. Confirm your seat or choose a new one, then decide whether to print or download your boarding pass.
Alaska Airlines: The Seattle-based carrier has four simple steps for checking in: one, enter a confirmation code, e-ticket number, or mileage plan number; two, select a traveler; three, verify information and indicate if bags are being checked; and four, print/upload a pass.
Allegiant Air: Travelers on this Las Vegas-based airline can check in online starting 24 hours before and up to 45 minutes prior to a flight's departure. The carrier recommends the online check-in option because it charges $5 per boarding pass for those who choose an agent to check in. Customers can check in using a confirmation number, an email address or a credit/debit card.
American Airlines: The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier needs a traveler's name and record locator to check in up to 24 hours in advance.
British Airways: The UK flag carrier asks for carriers to enter their name and record locator, choose seats and amount of checked baggage, then either print or download a boarding pass or print it out at an airport kiosk.
Delta Air Lines: All the Atlanta-based carrier needs is a passenger name, along with either a Skymiles frequent flyer number, a credit card or a ticket/confirmation number.
Emirates: The Dubai-based carrier allows passengers to check in online between 48 hours and 90 minutes before flight departure. Check-in can be completed with the last name and reference number.
Etihad: Check-in for this Abu Dhabi-based carrier is available between 48 hours to an hour before departure via a booking reference, a frequent flyer number or a ticket number.
Frontier Airlines: Denver's hometown airline allows travelers to check in using their name and confirmation code.
Hawaiian Airlines: Travelers on this Honolulu-based carrier can check in up to 24 hours in advance, but no less than 60 minutes before departure using their name and confirmation code.
JetBlue: The New York-based carrier requires travelers to enter first/last name and airport, along with either confirmation code, a flight number or a True Blue frequent flyer number to produce a printed or mobile boarding pass.
KLM: Travelers need to enter their ticket number or booking code and the flight number or log in with either an email address and password or a Flying Blue frequent flyer number and PIN code. Choose the names of travelers, choose or change seats and print or download the documents.
Lufthansa: To get a boarding pass, the German flag carrier allows travelers to use their Miles and More frequent flyer name and number, a booking reference or a ticket number. Once the information is confirmed, the pass can be printed or downloaded.
Qantas: Online check-in for Australia's flag carrier is available from 24 hours until 30 minutes before domestic flights and 24 hours until two hours on international flights before departure. All that's needed is a booking reference and last name.
Qatar Airways: Online check-in for flights from the U.S. open 24 hours prior to departure and check-in for flights to the U.S. open 24 hours prior to departure from Doha. For all other flights, online check-in is available between 48 hours and 90 minutes before departure. The airline gives travelers a 10 percent discount voucher to use at Qatar Duty Free outlets when they use online check-in.
Southwest Airlines: All you need to check in is a name and confirmation number, then print out or download the boarding pass.
Spirit Airlines: The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based only required a confirmation code and last name to check in. Travelers are advised to use the online check-in option, as the ultra-low-cost carrier charges $10 to use an agent at the airport.
Turkish Airlines: The country's flag carrier allows travelers to check in 24 hours before your flight departure time and ends 90 minutes before takeoff. Use a last name and confirmation code to check in.
Ryanair: Travelers can check in by email address, credit card information or flight details up to 24 hours before their flight.
United Airlines: The Chicago-based airline allows travelers to check in via confirmation or eTicket number or by their Mileage Plus account number up to 24 hours in advance.
WestJet: Travelers with an account at this Calgary-based low-cost carrier can check in online easily. Those without an account can check in by offering their name, departure city and reservation code.