Posts: 2313
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:39 pm

Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 6:30 pm

I always try to check in as soon as the check in desk opens as I always prefer to have a window seat, but of course it would always be nice to leave that little later and get a bit more of a lie in and check in around 90 mins before departure....

If we've requested an aisle and a window seat for a transatlantic flight on US, will they have assigned the seats before check in, or is it a case of the earlier you turn up the best choice of seats you have?

So if we check in 90 minutes before departure, are we still likely to get the seats we've requested?

Thanks and regards,
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 6:39 pm

You consider 90 minutes a LATE checkin? Jeez, I usually make it to the airport between 60-90 minutes before departure for international flights and 30-60 minutes prior to domestic flights. Very rarely am I disappointed with my seat assignment.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 6:41 pm

Regardless, you should follow these guidelines.

Domestic without checked bags: 60 minutes
Domestic with checked bags: 90 minutes
International: 120 minutes
Posts: 5058
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:36 pm

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:23 pm

For a major longhaul from a major airport, I check in 3 hours + before departure and then go shopping, get a nice meal and head to the bar. I treat myself as on holiday the instant I am in the airport and make a day of it. For short-haul - I check in about 45 mins before departure - short flights are nowhere near as exciting.

Checking in early is no guarantee of a decent seat. If the airline doesn't allow seat booking at time of ticket purchase, try online check-in or failing that, contact the airline direct a couple of weeks prior to departure.
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
Posts: 590
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2003 8:59 pm

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:52 pm

I think the airlines, especially on longhaul legs from congested airports, should offer incentives to check-in early.

For example, LHR T4, where BA's longhauls depart from, is always packed solid and passengers can spend well over an hour and a half in a queue. I think that passengers, when booking, should be given the option of several 'time banks' in which to check in, to stagger the arrival of passengers. Those who opt to arrive earlier could be given a voucher for a discount at duty free shops, to keep them occupied in the extra time they have to spend at the airport. For example, If you arrive in the 210mins+ before departure bank, you could get a 40% voucher, 210-180mins 30%, 180-150mins 20% and 150-120mins 10%, the rest nothing! Also, if you miss your time bank, then you receive the time bank you arrive in -10%.

For example, if you're meant to arrive in 210-180, but arrive in 180-150, you get 10% instead of 30%. Besides this passengers could be offered other incentives, such as the ability to select their seats etc. I think this would massively boost customer service levels since queues would be reduced and passengers would be rewarded for it!

What do you think?

Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 8:01 pm

As long as possible before departure...

Last year flying AMS-CUR I checked in at about 07:30 for a 14:00 (about) departure. On the return flight I checked in about 3 hours before departure, I was #3 (with one family of 2 checking in before me).
That might have been excessive I admit  Laugh out loud but it is indicative.
Last friday I was at AMS 3 hours before departure to BHX, had to wait 45 minutes for the checkin desk to open (no KLM partner this time, or I'd have been able to check in at any KLM desk and there's several open 24/7).
Checking in about 10 minutes after the desk opened, I had boarding number 006 for the flight.
I wish I were flying
Posts: 5561
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 9:19 pm

15 min, if I'm lucky. it's always better to check in before the flight. They don't really like hitchhikers like me out on the runway.  Big thumbs up
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
Posts: 3996
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 10:59 pm

I am a passenger service agent. So if i am travelling with an airline i handle, then i might check in about 60 minutes before. Cause I would call and have a seat blocked or something. Otherwise 120 minutes for international flights. I HATE HATE long lines. And since most airlines here checkin one flight at a time, you can avoid long lines if you get their early. Plus you get the seat of your choice and your trip goes great.
There is something special about planes....

RE: Best Time To Check In?

Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:45 am

Fully agreed with Captaink. If you don't like long lines, then come early. If you don't care where you sit, then come late. If you care where you sit, come early. If you have bags, be earlier. If you don't mind missing a flight because the security line is too long, and you're too late and have to pay to get on the next flight, then come late!  Smile

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