APH compare airline check-in options

For savvy travellers keen to speed through check-in ahead of their trip this summer, we have compared the various check-in options of 10 airlines.

Family Check-in at help desk

Click to Check-In

Travellers can speed through to security at the airport by checking-in online and all 10 airlines researched, including British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet, allow passengers to do this. The online check-in window ranges from 24 hours prior to departure with four airlines to 60 days before the departure date for Flexi Plus passengers with Ryanair. The cut-off time for checking in online varies from six hours before departure with TUI Airways to just 70 minutes for those travelling with Virgin Atlantic. Although those with hand luggage can head straight to security on arrival at the airport after checking-in online, travellers with luggage for the aircraft’s hold should note that they will still be required to register their details and print their baggage tag at the terminal via a check-in machine or desk, and this could take some time.

‘Appy Travels

Passengers can check-in on the go by downloading the free apps offered by all airlines researched, including Jet2 and Emirates. The British Airways and American Airlines apps also allow passengers to track their flights, stream inflight entertainment and choose their seats. Passengers who don’t want to carry extra paper can download their boarding pass onto the app and present it at security checkpoints. However, Aer Lingus, Jet2 and EasyJet passengers should not that the option of mobile boarding passes is not available at certain airports, including some in Turkey, Portugal and Bulgaria. For fast track luggage collection on arrival, the Air France and American Airlines apps not only allow passengers to track their baggage but will even tell them which delivery carousel they can collect it at.

Talk’s Not Cheap

Checking-in at the airport for free is possible with nine of the airlines researched and passengers can either use a self-service kiosk or go to the check-in desk for further assistance. However, Ryanair passengers who want to check-in at the airport should note that a £55 fee per person is charged, and a reissue fee of £20 per person if the boarding pass was not printed beforehand.

Self check-in screen

Take Advantage of Twilight Drop-Off

Those who have booked an overnight airport hotel stay the night before their flight can further reduce the stress of their early morning by dropping off their baggage the evening before, thanks to a service known as twilight drop-off. The service is provided by five of the airlines researched, including Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic, for flights that are departing early in the morning the next day. Twilight drop-off times vary for each airline, for example TUI Airways flights allows passengers to drop-off their baggage from 12pm up until 10 pm the day before if they are flying from Gatwick, Manchester or Birmingham.

Savvy Seat Selection

Seat selection is provided by all airlines researched as soon as passengers confirm their booking, except for those travelling with TUI Airways, where seats on short-haul flights are available to select from 30 days before departure, while seats on long-haul flights are available to select from three days before departure. Aer Lingus offers free seat selection for all passengers until 30 hours before departure, with half price seats offered for children.


AER LINGUS

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• If customers are travelling within the EU, check-in can be completed from 30 days
• If customers have booked a transatlantic flight, check-in can be completed within 2 to 24 hours before departure

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available at the Apple Store and Google Play
• Unavailable for flights to North America
• Check-in can be completed within 30 hours of departure on all routes within Europe
• Mobile boarding passes not accepted in Faro, Bourgas, Izmir and Donegal airports

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – self-service kiosk available to check-in
• Check-in desk available

STIPULATIONS
• Passport and ID card are required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seat selection fees apply up until 30 hours before departure, where seat selection becomes free
• Half price bags and seats for children
• Customers who are travelling with an infant up to 2 years old must pay 10% of the adult fare on flights to North America or a flat rate of £19 per one-way flight on all short-haul routes

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• Available at Dublin between 5 pm and 8 pm, for flights departing between 6 am and 8 am
• Available at Cork between 4 pm and 7:30 pm, for flights departing between 6 am and 8 am
• All passengers must be present


AIR FRANCE

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Available from 30 hours before flight departure

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple Store and Google Play
• Mobile boarding pass available
• App will tell customers at which delivery carousel their baggage is

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – boarding pass and baggage tag can be printed at an Air France kiosk

STIPULATIONS
• Booking reference or Flying Blue card number is required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Standard seat selection available when booking and up to 30 hours before departure for a fee
• Standard seat selection free for Flying Blue Silver, Gold and Platinum members, passengers with reduced mobility and children travelling alone
• Standard seat selection fee for all customers when checking in online 30 hours before departure
• Travelling families with a child (up to 4 years) get a free reserved seat 2 days before departure

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• N/A


AMERICAN AIRLINES

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Available 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple Store and Google Play
• Customers can stream in-flight entertainment from the app
• Customers can check status of baggage

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – self-service kiosk available to print boarding passes
STIPULATIONS
• Credit card and/or passport, boarding pass are required for check-inn

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seat selection available when booking directly
• Seat selection available at check-in
• Family seat selection is done by the airline 1 day before departure
• Infants (up to 2 years) are not assigned individual seats

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• N/A


BRITISH AIRWAYS

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Check-in available from 24 hours before flight
• Print, download or email boarding pass at home or print at the check-in kiosk at the airport

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – free app available from the Apple Store and Google Play
• Boarding passes for up to eight people in the same booking App
• App can be used for tracking flight’s status, viewing in-flight entertainment and choosing seats

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – airport kiosks can be used to check-in and print boarding passes
• Check – in desks can also be used if help is required
• Those travelling from London Gatwick before 3:15 pm can check in the day before
• Those travelling from Edinburgh before 9 am can check in the day before

STIPULATIONS
• Booking reference or form of identification (e.g. credit / debit card, Executive Club card or passport) is required for check-in at the airport

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seats are allocated if not reserved
• At check-in seats can be changed for a fee
• Basic ticket customers must pay to reserve seat
• Free selection when travelling with an infant (up to 2 years)
• Carrycots and child seat reservation subject to availability

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• If flying from Gatwick, drop off is available between 4 pm to 10 pm for next-day flights departing before 1pm
• All passengers must be present


EASYJET

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Check-in between 30 days and 2 hours before the flight departure
• Any changes made to booking must be followed by checking-in again

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple store and Google Play, able to manage bookings, and store boarding passes
• Boarding passes on mobile cannot be scanned by airport security team at certain airports

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – between 2 hours and 40 minutes before the flight if help is required

STIPULATIONS
• Passport and identity card are required to confirm identity
• Booking reference is required for online/app check-in

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seats allocated if not reserved
• Customers can choose seat for a small fee; prices vary according to the type of seat

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• If a flight leaves London Gatwick before 8.30 am hold luggage can be dropped off at the ‘EasyJet Bag Drop area’ from 8 pm until midnight the night before
• All passengers must be present


EMIRATES

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Available 48 hours to 90 minutes before departure

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple store and Google play
• Mobile boarding pass accepted

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – check-in counters available

STIPULATIONS
• Booking reference is required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seat selection free for Business Class and First Class
• Economy class can pay a fee for seat selection
• Seats selection is free 48 hours before departure
• Infants (up to 2 years) are not assigned individual seats

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• N/A


JET2

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• From 28 days and up to 5 hours before departure

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple Store and Google play
• Some airports do not accept mobile boarding passes
• If travelling to Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, New York, customers are required to go to the check-in desk
• Boarding pass can be scanned through phone
• Up to 8 boarding passes can be saved

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – available for hold baggage customers, closes 40 minutes before departure

STIPULATIONS
• Booking reference is required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seats allocated if not reserved
• Customers can choose seat and add extra leg room for a fee depending on seat location
• Infant (up to 2 years) friendly seats available

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• If flying from Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted and Manchester drop- off is available at the airport from 3-8pm on the night before your flight
• All passengers must be present


RYANAIR

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Can check-in online up to 2 hours before departure
• Flexi Plus tickets and purchased seat customers can check-in 60 days in advance

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – free app available on Apple Store and Google play

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – charges apply at £55 per person
• If check in was completed but the boarding pass was not printed a reissue fee of £20 per person applies
• Flexi Plus customers can check-in free of charge

STIPULATIONS
• To check-in using app, email address used at time of booking and reservation number is required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seats are allocated if not reserved
• Customers can reserve a seat for a fee from the time of booking and up to 2 hours before departure
• Free reserved seats for up to 4 children between 2 and 12 years old with every adult seat booked

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• N/A


TUI AIRWAYS

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Available from 24 to 6 hours before departure (if seat is not reserved)
• TUI Extra: online check available 48 hours prior to departure (74 hours for long distance flights)

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – available from the Apple Store and Google play
• Mobile boarding pass available
• App unavailable if customers did not directly book with TUI, booking includes more than 1 hotel or 2 flights, booking includes flights with another carrier and those who booked a Marella cruise

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – customers carrying hold baggage must go to the check-in desk

STIPULATIONS
• Booking reference is required

SEAT RESERVATION
• Seat booking available from 30 days up to 48 hours before departure for short distance flights
• For long distance flights seat booking is available from 3 days to 72 hours before departure
• Services are available 30 minutes after booking
• Infants (up to 2 years) are not assigned individual seats

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• If flying from London Gatwick, Manchester or Birmingham, hold baggage can be dropped off from 12 pm up until 10pm the day before
• All passengers must be present


VIRGIN ATLANTIC

CHECK-IN ONLINE
• Check-in from 24 hours before flight until 70 minutes before departure
• Able to make changes to seat, add baggage and API, and print and download boarding pass to mobile

APP AVAILABLE?
• Yes – download from the App Store or Google play
• Mobile can be used as boarding pass
• Groups can keep all passes on one device

CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT
• Yes – generally close 60 minutes before departure
• Airport guide is available

STIPULATIONS
• Passport information is required for the app

SEAT RESERVATION
• Able to choose seat as soon as booking is confirmed
• Economy Light customers can choose seat for free
• Infants (up to 2 years) individual seats are not available

TWILIGHT DROP-OFF (FREE OF CHARGE)
• For all departures Twilight check in is available from 5 pm to 9 pm
• All passenger must be present


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