Long queues at the check-in counter, stressful security lines and racing against time to make your flight? Yikes! To save time at the airport and make your journey a lot easier, there’s one easy step you can take before you jet set on your next flight—online check-in! From receiving your seat assignment and digital boarding pass to submitting your meal preferences and other important personal information before you even step foot into the airport, there are tons of ways to save yourself a ton of time and stress ahead of your flight by completing your check-in online.

Still not sure if online check-in is for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the benefits of online check-in and how to take advantage of it for your next flight!

How to Check-In Online

Online check-in (a.k.a. web check-in) can be done simply by visiting the airline’s website, entering your name, booking confirmation number, and your passport number (in case of the international flights). At this stage, many airlines will allow you to choose your seat, consider an upgrade, and pay any checked baggage fees (if applicable).

Once you’ve completed the check-in process online, you can either print your boarding pass, access it in a mobile app, or have it emailed to you for you to pull up on your mobile device to at the airport. You can also print your boarding pass at the airport if you don’t have access to a smartphone or printer.

The Benefits of Online Check-In

Online check-in comprises several benefits for passengers. The best of these benefits are:

  • Saving time on the long airport check-in lines
  • Allowing you the option to choose your seats before even reaching the airport
  • The possibility of paying a lower fee checked baggage than you would if you paid in-person at the time of airport check-in
  • Skipping the line! Many airlines have a separate line for travelers who have already checked-in online. This makes the bag drop process faster and gets you to the security line much faster, too.

How to Select Seats

While checking in online, you get a seat map of the aircraft. This map shows you the seats that are already booked and those still vacant. You can select your preferred seat (among the available ones) by clicking on the seat on the map. Complete the process and you can rest assured that you’ll be getting the seat you chose.

When to Reach the Airport If You’ve Checked-In Online

The time you give yourself to finish dropping off your bags, getting through the security check and getting to your gate depends on many variables. Even if you already have your online boarding pass, it’s always important to give yourself enough time. Rules for check-in vary from airline to airline and you should be aware of the rules and regulations of the airline you are traveling on ahead of time, as this could add or shave off time to your wait time and boarding process.

In most cases, if you have baggage to drop off, you must arrive at least two before the scheduled departure time of the flight. It will give you time to check in your luggage, get through the security, and walk to the gate. For those who are not checking baggage, reaching the airport ninety minutes prior to the flight would be good enough. Also, you should reach the airport even earlier if you’re traveling internationally and/or during any peak holiday period.

Instances When Online Check-In Is NOT Available

  • Your first flight is operated by a codeshare partner
  • You need a special service (for instance- wheelchair or assistance for unaccompanied minor)
  • You’re traveling in a large group
  • You’ve been picked for secondary screening by the TSA
  • Your passport is not filed with the airline (international flights)

There you have it, folks! Online all the ways to reap the benefits of online check-in to make your trip even more enjoyable and keep your mind at ease before jet setting. And the best news is that almost every major airline offers this service these days. Bon voyage!