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What Are the Advantages of an Online Check-In?

By Ken Black
Updated: May 23, 2024

The advantages of online check-in can be numerous, but those benefits can vary greatly from one airline to another, depending on the policies. Generally, the greatest convenience of online check-in is for travelers who have little or no luggage, and do not need to check bags. In such cases, they can bypass the typical long lines at the check-in counters, and proceed right to the airport gates. Extra benefits include being able to choose a seat before arriving at the airport and other incentives as well.

One of the major benefits to online, or Internet, check-in is the ability to make sure the traveler has a spot reserved before arriving at the airport. This allows the traveler to bypass the ticket counter, where waits can be long, especially before popular flights. Usually, this only works out for the traveler if there are no bags to check. In some cases, curbside check-in could take the checked baggage even if the traveler has already utilized the online check-in system; this will depend on the airline.

The online check-in system usually allows travelers to print boarding passes directly from a home computer. Therefore, the traveler is generally assured of having a spot on the flight, even if he arrives at the last minute. If the flight is overbooked, there are still no guarantees, however. Airlines are also not under any obligation to wait for a late-arriving passenger, regardless of whether he has checked in online.

Another benefit to checking in online is the ability to choose a seat assignment. While not all airlines offer this, it can be a good incentive for those who have tickets, but not assigned seats. It allows the passenger to choose a seat before all the desired seats are taken, especially if the passenger will be arriving at the airport close to departure time.

Financial incentives can also play a role in online check-in and be a big advantage for some travelers. Certain airlines, recognizing the benefits of the automated process, offer passengers bonus frequent flier miles for checking in via the Internet. This speeds up the process at the airport, which in turn leads to happier passengers and possibly more cost efficient staffing arrangements. Therefore, the system is good for both the passenger and the airline.

The final benefit of online check-in relates to those who will have a busy itinerary before the flight. Many airlines allow you to check in as early as 72 hours before the flight, or at least 12:01 a.m. on the day of the flight. This allows travelers who have commitments up until the time they arrive at the airport, the flexibility to check in at an earlier time so that there is one less thing they need to worry about later.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Mar 11, 2014

I know I can still be bumped from a flight when airlines over book flights, but being able to pick an assigned seat when I check in online makes me feel more positive. I also like being able to choose which seat I will be sitting in for the flight. I prefer the aisle. I will settle for the window. I don't want to be in the middle.

It makes sense to check in on line. The process is so simple and fast.

By Sporkasia — On Mar 10, 2014

The article mentioned the major benefits of airport online check in, and I simply want to stress how great these benefits are for me. Checking in online before I ever leave for the airport is one less task I have to accomplish on the day of my flight.

I like having my boarding pass in hand, so I don't have to use the machines at the airport to print a pass. A problematic printer can ruin a schedule. Plus, I don't have to wait in that long check-in line. There are enough lines involved in flying. One less is greatly appreciated.

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