Welcome to the third part in our series where our expert team delve into the chaos of travelling and being in an airport.
Let me ask my Professional Travel Advisor
(Issue no. 3)
Has Check-in at the airport changed? What do I need to know?
Pre-COVID, the airlines had put a lot of work into streamlining the check-in process. We saw the implementation of online check-in and the move to automated kiosks, which were loved or hated by many, in equal measure. Much of this has changed with the evolving requirements for travel during COVID. Airlines have been forced to revert to the old manual check-in procedures, due to all the documentation that needs to be checked before allowing passengers to board. The lack of a universal systemised process on how to do this often means lots of paper/photocopies and double-checking destination requirements. (The IATA Travel Pass being rolled out, as mentioned in previous questions), will alleviate much of this manual handling). As a result we are seeing some significant delays with processing check-in, and have even been told by some airlines that on some occasions it can take up to 30 minutes to check-in a single person to certain destinations. The lines at the airport can at times be very long, which is frustrating to both staff and passengers alike, so come prepared. With borders now opening and flights departing at full capacity this will really test the system. Those travelling Business and First class will definitely benefit from their dedicated lines, but should still be aware of delays. Airlines are trying to tackle this in different ways; some have systems where you can upload all your documentation in the days prior to departure for them to check in advance, others have dedicated staff pre-screening passengers whilst in line for check-in. So, it is important to be patient – airline staff are dealing with so many changing rules and are only human. Remember, you are only travelling to one destination whereas an airline can have passengers connecting through to dozens of different destinations, each with totally different entry requirements. Think of all your document requirements and imagine how much more they need to go through.
Our top tips for check-in at the airport :
- Get to your flight early – very very early! We recommend at least 3hrs prior to the flight to allow enough time for the check-in process and to smooth over any issues with documentation should they arise.
- Print all your documentation in duplicate and put each one separately in its own plastic sleeve clearly labelled for easy access. You will be asked to hand these over at check-in one by one and the more organised you are the easier you will make it. Sometimes airlines have to get a manager to check things and we have had situations where documents were misplaced during the process. Having 2 copies clearly labelled in plastic sleeves will alleviate issues like these.
- In addition to the above, save a copy of all your required documentation on your phone/tablet.
- Once you have finished checking in, double check the paperwork you have with you, in addition to your passport, boarding passes and luggage tags. With everything going on and paperwork requirements, it is very easy to misplace something during the process.
Do you have a question for our Professional Travel Advisors – please email us on email@example.com
For Issue no.2. click HERE