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IFlyVeryLittle
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Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 2:31 pm

Whether we do it in person at the airport, at home on our phones or via an in-airport kiosk, you can't fly until you check in. But why? What mechanisms are set in motion when we "check in"? Or, put another way, what happens if we don't?
 
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eta unknown
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 3:20 pm

If you don't, then you don't fly. How else does the airline theoretically know you are actually travelling? No check-in, no boarding pass!
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 3:26 pm

eta unknown wrote:
If you don't, then you don't fly. How else does the airline theoretically know you are actually travelling? No check-in, no boarding pass!

But I don't "check in" for the train. Why would someone need to know if I'm traveling or not, if my bum isn't on the seat then I'm not traveling, same like a train.

Fred
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 3:35 pm

If you don't check in by the cut off time, they cancel your reserved seat and possibly assign it to someone else.
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 4:00 pm

flipdewaf wrote:
But I don't "check in" for the train. Why would someone need to know if I'm traveling or not, if my bum isn't on the seat then I'm not traveling, same like a train.


The opportunity cost of letting a seat go unused on the plane is much higher than it is on the train. The airline is going to do everything in its power to ensure all seats are occupied on a flight if at all possible. Especially now when capacity is managed so tightly.
 
nws2002
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 4:34 pm

It is a result of the ticket/coupon based system used for flight payments. When you buy a ticket you are given a flight coupon for each segment. When you check in, you are exchanging a flight coupon for a boarding pass. All of this occurs electronically now with e-tickets, but the design of the system is the same. Of course, there are also ticketless processes now with newer reservation systems like Navitaire and others. Not saying this couldn't change, but that is where the process came from.

Also, there are no show passengers on almost every flight I've worked. These are passengers who purchased a ticket but failed to check in and travel. Once the ticket counter closed (around the 45 minute mark for most airlines) we can use the seats that would have been assigned to these no show passengers to standby passengers. It would be difficult to process and seat standby passengers quickly enough if we waited until 10 minutes prior to see who decided to show up. Of course we do still clear some at this late point when we have checked in passengers not make the flight, but it isn't the bulk of the standby list.
 
Tristarsteve
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 5:06 pm

When I worked for TWA at ARN in 1988, you could book your seat when you booked the flight. All bookings with seat numbers made a short time (cant remember how long but about a week) in advance were sent their boarding pass through the post. With hand luggage only no need to talk to anyone at the airport until you boarded the flight.
 
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DL_Mech
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Wed May 04, 2022 8:46 pm

On a train, can you oversell seats and take passengers standing up? Obviously, you cannot do this on an airplane.
 
citationjet
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 06, 2022 3:03 am

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Whether we do it in person at the airport, at home on our phones or via an in-airport kiosk, you can't fly until you check in. But why? What mechanisms are set in motion when we "check in"? Or, put another way, what happens if we don't?


If you have more than carry on luggage, such as checked luggage, then you will have to check in.
Even with only carry on luggage, you must checkin to get a boarding pass, which is required to go thru security.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 06, 2022 1:36 pm

citationjet wrote:
IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Whether we do it in person at the airport, at home on our phones or via an in-airport kiosk, you can't fly until you check in. But why? What mechanisms are set in motion when we "check in"? Or, put another way, what happens if we don't?


If you have more than carry on luggage, such as checked luggage, then you will have to check in.
Even with only carry on luggage, you must checkin to get a boarding pass, which is required to go thru security.


Security is a relatively new reason; there were check-ins way before ticket check at security became a thing. And with non-refundable non-changeable fares security document issued at ticket purchase is a possibility.

I wonder if check-in has anything to do with formal manifests. Another entity requiring check-in (an earlier one) is cruise lines. They use check-in to assign arrival procedure timing, and they specifically mention a formal manifest to be submitted to authorities at least 60 minutes before departure.
 
TheSonntag
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 06, 2022 5:24 pm

Another reason is performance calculation and weight and balance.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 06, 2022 9:59 pm

TheSonntag wrote:
Another reason is performance calculation and weight and balance.

Probably not too much. It should be possible to use tickets sold for draft calculation, and that is all what checkin data would be good for. Now-shows are relatively small %% of sold tickets.
Standby/non-revs, misconnects, connecting bags misdirected and/or left behind would be a greater fraction of payload and can occur later in the process.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 1:56 am

kalvado wrote:
Probably not too much. It should be possible to use tickets sold for draft calculation, and that is all what checkin data would be good for. Now-shows are relatively small %% of sold tickets.
Standby/non-revs, misconnects, connecting bags misdirected and/or left behind would be a greater fraction of payload and can occur later in the process.


Nope, weights need to be known to generate the flight plan, you might not be able to carry the full aircraft capacity due to fuel requirements from the flight plan. The takeoff performance and W&B is generated from the load sheet numbers which will tell you the total aircrafts weight down to the last kg/lb.

These are legal requirements. You cannot use ticket sales to generate this, and you need the actual passenger, baggage, catering, and cargo distribution.
 
QF93
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 8:05 am

zeke wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Probably not too much. It should be possible to use tickets sold for draft calculation, and that is all what checkin data would be good for. Now-shows are relatively small %% of sold tickets.
Standby/non-revs, misconnects, connecting bags misdirected and/or left behind would be a greater fraction of payload and can occur later in the process.


Nope, weights need to be known to generate the flight plan, you might not be able to carry the full aircraft capacity due to fuel requirements from the flight plan. The takeoff performance and W&B is generated from the load sheet numbers which will tell you the total aircrafts weight down to the last kg/lb.

These are legal requirements. You cannot use ticket sales to generate this, and you need the actual passenger, baggage, catering, and cargo distribution.


Are those W&B figures based on the number of passengers that scan their boarding pass at the gate and actually board the aircraft, or just the number of passengers that have checked-in? I am assuming the former.

It is a valid question raised by the OP. The key reason I can see is revenue management to make it easier to manage waitlist and oversold tickets for a flight. The other reasons cited above can presumably be dealt with by passengers scanning their boarding pass / ticket at the gate. As for baggage, these days more often it is just a “baggage drop” stage (at least for domestic travel).
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 8:49 am

It is revenue management in a way, it is also a way to maximize payload. Where I work several hours before the flight leaves the airline has an estimated zero fuel weight (ZFW), that is a mix of number of expected passengers and estimated baggage weights, catering for them, as well as cargo. This weight is used to generate the initial flight plan, from that they will have an idea of spare payload available and they may then decide to load more cargo. That number normally is within 5 tonnes of the actual final zero fuel weight.

When the check-in counter closes about 30-40 minutes before departure we will receive the final zero fuel weight, that includes the passengers checked in (either at the airport and connecting passengers), their baggage, cargo, and catering. We use that number then to finalize the amount of fuel to be loaded.

Once the final ZFW and fuel is known we will get a preliminary load sheet, that will have the takeoff and landing weights as well as the distribution of passengers and cargo in the aircraft. This is used to generate preliminary takeoff data.

Once the boarding gate is closed, we receive the final load sheet. That load sheet can have a few missing passengers that do not make it through immigration or miss a connecting flight. If the difference in weights between the preliminary load sheet and final load sheet are out of the tolerances, we may need to recompute the takeoff data.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 11:55 am

zeke wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Probably not too much. It should be possible to use tickets sold for draft calculation, and that is all what checkin data would be good for. Now-shows are relatively small %% of sold tickets.
Standby/non-revs, misconnects, connecting bags misdirected and/or left behind would be a greater fraction of payload and can occur later in the process.


Nope, weights need to be known to generate the flight plan, you might not be able to carry the full aircraft capacity due to fuel requirements from the flight plan. The takeoff performance and W&B is generated from the load sheet numbers which will tell you the total aircrafts weight down to the last kg/lb.

These are legal requirements. You cannot use ticket sales to generate this, and you need the actual passenger, baggage, catering, and cargo distribution.

That's exactly what I say. Check-in data doesn't help in getting those numbers, especially on a connecting flight.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 2:58 pm

From check in data you get passenger weights and baggage weights, that is recorded in the system even for connecting passengers.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 4:10 pm

zeke wrote:
From check in data you get passenger weights and baggage weights, that is recorded in the system even for connecting passengers.

If you ever flew with connection, you should know that probability of missing the second flight is way above zero. I would say 20%, give or take, from my experience.
So check-in data cannot and should not be used for more than preliminary estimate.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 4:30 pm

We don’t leave 20% of our connecting pax behind. We would typically have more passengers rejected by immigration than by missed connections.
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 4:58 pm

kalvado wrote:
If you ever flew with connection, you should know that probability of missing the second flight is way above zero. I would say 20%, give or take, from my experience.
So check-in data cannot and should not be used for more than preliminary estimate.


There's no way 20% of people miss connections. In 22 years of business flying, over 1700 flights, I've missed a connection maybe 5-10 times. That's more like 0.2% and I'm sure much more in line with the actual rate in reality.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 6:52 pm

dennypayne wrote:
kalvado wrote:
If you ever flew with connection, you should know that probability of missing the second flight is way above zero. I would say 20%, give or take, from my experience.
So check-in data cannot and should not be used for more than preliminary estimate.


There's no way 20% of people miss connections. In 22 years of business flying, over 1700 flights, I've missed a connection maybe 5-10 times. That's more like 0.2% and I'm sure much more in line with the actual rate in reality.

My experience is definitely worse than yours.
However even with 0.2% missed connections one out of 3 narrowbody flights would get one. So check-in data is unusable for exact weight on that many flights...
 
FGITD
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm

Which is why it’s not. Check in info is usually sent for prelim info. The early version of the load sheet, a pre fuel number, etc. Then once check in closes the numbers reflect what/who is checked in giving a more precise count. And then finally when boarding is complete and loading is done, the cockpit gets the final load sheet with the exact numbers.

All the airlines I’ve worked for or with won’t allow a final load to be sent without boarding being closed and completed. You can have all the bags and cargo loaded but until they close the pax count, nothing goes through.

I’ve only worked in long haul Int’l, but in my years as a manager we usually hovered around 1% misconnect.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 08, 2022 1:31 am

kalvado wrote:
However even with 0.2% missed connections one out of 3 narrowbody flights would get one. So check-in data is unusable for exact weight on that many flights...


One passenger would be around 100 kg, which would be in tolerance band for most airlines. And its on the plus side, i.e. we are actually 100 kg lighter than the heavier mass we did performance for.
 
rotation18L
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 08, 2022 10:24 pm

Dalmd88 wrote:
If you don't check in by the cut off time, they cancel your reserved seat and possibly assign it to someone else.


Exactly! It's all about money. If you don't show up, they can sell the same seat to someone else and make double the profit on the seat. Not a bad deal for the airlines. Plus, demand for airline seats is likely in much greater demand than trains or buses, and so the opportunity for add'l profit is huge comparatively.
 
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Ruddman
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Re: Why do we

Tue May 10, 2022 6:02 pm

dennypayne wrote:
The airline is going to do everything in its power to ensure all seats are occupied on a flight if at all possible. Especially now when capacity is managed so tightly.


Does it matter if the person has paid for the ticket whether they turn up or not?

Im thinking financially it would be better for airlines if NO one turns up. They collect the cash and save all that fuel by not going anywhere. :p

I can see the next thing airlines will do is to find ways for us pax to check in but not make the airport on time. (Randomly relocating check in counters, switch the airline signs, fake accidents on the airport entry roads etc etc etc).

It’s only a matter of time!!
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Why do we

Tue May 10, 2022 7:14 pm

Ruddman wrote:
dennypayne wrote:
The airline is going to do everything in its power to ensure all seats are occupied on a flight if at all possible. Especially now when capacity is managed so tightly.


Does it matter if the person has paid for the ticket whether they turn up or not?


It's not even about the finances - there are always standbys that can be accommodated, whether that's from IRROPS or commuting staff or reaccommodations from other airlines. No sense in letting a seat go out empty when they could help clear out some of that backlog.
 
Nightmareliner
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 13, 2022 2:45 pm

Part of it is the security aspect too - you need to know who exactly is onboard. Hold baggage needs to be reconciled with customers onboard, and those who don't board need their bags offloaded. Think back to Air India 182 or Pan Am 103.

Another reason is airlines perform a check of travel documentation at check in - and for some route, certain airlines require even OLCI HBO passengers to present themselves at the desk because of the heavy penalties the destination country applies if the passenger does not hold the correct documents (USA, UK & Australia are big examples of this).

Neither of these issues apply to trains as mentioned above, or at least not in the same way as it would affect air travel.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 13, 2022 3:00 pm

Nightmareliner wrote:
Part of it is the security aspect too - you need to know who exactly is onboard. Hold baggage needs to be reconciled with customers onboard, and those who don't board need their bags offloaded. Think back to Air India 182 or Pan Am 103.

Another reason is airlines perform a check of travel documentation at check in - and for some route, certain airlines require even OLCI HBO passengers to present themselves at the desk because of the heavy penalties the destination country applies if the passenger does not hold the correct documents (USA, UK & Australia are big examples of this).

Neither of these issues apply to trains as mentioned above, or at least not in the same way as it would affect air travel.

Domestic travel requires little documentation beyond ID, and that is not checked during online check-in anyway. Even for international travel from US, document checks often occur at the gate, not at check-in.
Hold bags are indeed dealt with during check-in, but there are many people traveling without one.
 
Nightmareliner
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 13, 2022 4:22 pm

kalvado wrote:
Nightmareliner wrote:
Part of it is the security aspect too - you need to know who exactly is onboard. Hold baggage needs to be reconciled with customers onboard, and those who don't board need their bags offloaded. Think back to Air India 182 or Pan Am 103.

Another reason is airlines perform a check of travel documentation at check in - and for some route, certain airlines require even OLCI HBO passengers to present themselves at the desk because of the heavy penalties the destination country applies if the passenger does not hold the correct documents (USA, UK & Australia are big examples of this).

Neither of these issues apply to trains as mentioned above, or at least not in the same way as it would affect air travel.

Domestic travel requires little documentation beyond ID, and that is not checked during online check-in anyway. Even for international travel from US, document checks often occur at the gate, not at check-in.
Hold bags are indeed dealt with during check-in, but there are many people traveling without one.


I guess it’s an airline specific SOP then, as at the airline I work at certain routes required the customer to present themselves at check in for document checks - particularly for Russian flights (before the current mess in Ukraine).

Some airlines may also prefer to do it landslide, which was the case for many carriers during the pandemic with test, locator forms etc etc.

I’d say there’s no single reason for having check in - but when each of the factors I mentioned and other commenters have said upthread are all part of the reason.
 
RR757
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 13, 2022 7:46 pm

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Whether we do it in person at the airport, at home on our phones or via an in-airport kiosk, you can't fly until you check in. But why? What mechanisms are set in motion when we "check in"? Or, put another way, what happens if we don't?


For security and logistics they need to know who’s “accepted” to take this flight. At the gate they then know who or haven’t boarded. When the gate is about to close they need to know who is missing. If they don’t turn up (drunk in the bar often) their bag is off loaded for security.

Also it’s needed for the cockpit’s weight and centre of gravity calculation.

Another reason is security. They know a wanted criminal is at the airport and usually apprehended at the gate or taken off the plane once seated.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Fri May 13, 2022 8:38 pm

RR757 wrote:
IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Whether we do it in person at the airport, at home on our phones or via an in-airport kiosk, you can't fly until you check in. But why? What mechanisms are set in motion when we "check in"? Or, put another way, what happens if we don't?


For security and logistics they need to know who’s “accepted” to take this flight. At the gate they then know who or haven’t boarded. When the gate is about to close they need to know who is missing. If they don’t turn up (drunk in the bar often) their bag is off loaded for security.

Also it’s needed for the cockpit’s weight and centre of gravity calculation.

Another reason is security. They know a wanted criminal is at the airport and usually apprehended at the gate or taken off the plane once seated.

Name is on the ticket at the time of purchase. No need for check in to look it up.
 
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Ruddman
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Re: Why do we

Sat May 14, 2022 4:36 pm

dennypayne wrote:
Ruddman wrote:
dennypayne wrote:
The airline is going to do everything in its power to ensure all seats are occupied on a flight if at all possible. Especially now when capacity is managed so tightly.


Does it matter if the person has paid for the ticket whether they turn up or not?


It's not even about the finances - there are always standbys that can be accommodated, whether that's from IRROPS or commuting staff or reaccommodations from other airlines. No sense in letting a seat go out empty when they could help clear out some of that backlog.


Well, I was only joking. But all jokes aside, I think it’s only US airlines that offer standby seats? I know they don’t do it in Australia anyway. Miss ya flight and she’s an empty seat.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why do we

Sun May 15, 2022 5:39 am

Ruddman wrote:
Well, I was only joking. But all jokes aside, I think it’s only US airlines that offer standby seats? I know they don’t do it in Australia anyway. Miss ya flight and she’s an empty seat.


There is standby seats available in Australia both domestically and internationally. Busy times of the year, or busy times of the day flights don’t go with empty seats.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we

Sun May 15, 2022 6:54 am

zeke wrote:
Ruddman wrote:
Well, I was only joking. But all jokes aside, I think it’s only US airlines that offer standby seats? I know they don’t do it in Australia anyway. Miss ya flight and she’s an empty seat.


There is standby seats available in Australia both domestically and internationally. Busy times of the year, or busy times of the day flights don’t go with empty seats.

Are those for nonrev travel, or for off the street customers?
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 9:07 am

kalvado wrote:
Name is on the ticket at the time of purchase. No need for check in to look it up.

I took a flight recently where zero documentation was checked at any point at the airport, except the boarding pass (which I had printed out at home). The boarding pass had my name on it, sure, but without an ID or passport nobody can verify that it's really me. So yeah, checking in can't even do that.
 
QF93
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 9:25 am

RR757 wrote:

For security and logistics they need to know who’s “accepted” to take this flight. At the gate they then know who or haven’t boarded. When the gate is about to close they need to know who is missing. If they don’t turn up (drunk in the bar often) their bag is off loaded for security.

Also it’s needed for the cockpit’s weight and centre of gravity calculation.

Another reason is security. They know a wanted criminal is at the airport and usually apprehended at the gate or taken off the plane once seated.


I’m not sure I buy that. I’ve not come across the requirement for knowing which passengers have “accepted” a flight; and as Zeke noted it sounds like weight & balance calculations are done based on the final number of passengers that have had their boarding pass scanned to get on the flight rather than who has checked in.

As for identifying criminals, many (but not all) countries require you to scan your boarding pass as you go through airport security to enter airside, so at the very least the capability exists to identify members of the FBI Most Wanted list that are in the airport.
 
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Ruddman
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Re: Why do we

Sun May 15, 2022 11:51 am

zeke wrote:
Ruddman wrote:
Well, I was only joking. But all jokes aside, I think it’s only US airlines that offer standby seats? I know they don’t do it in Australia anyway. Miss ya flight and she’s an empty seat.


There is standby seats available in Australia both domestically and internationally. Busy times of the year, or busy times of the day flights don’t go with empty seats.



Are you sure?
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 12:01 pm

In some cases, airlines have to do the job of immigration authorities. If a passenger is not allowed to enter the destination country ("inadmissible persons"), the airline has to bring him back... and that will cost the airline.

A better question would be why everything in an airport is so highly secure. Your baggage will be x-rayed, armed guards patrolling, you have to show identity papers, but when it's time to retrieve the luggage you can pick whatever you want...
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 12:26 pm

Dalmd88 wrote:
If you don't check in by the cut off time, they cancel your reserved seat and possibly assign it to someone else.


But should they have that right? After all you paid for that seat, regardless if you use it or not. If you don't use it, you paid for that seat to be empty. Not for it to be reassigned.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 12:32 pm

citationjet wrote:
Even with only carry on luggage, you must checkin to get a boarding pass, which is required to go thru security.


Which can also be a digital boarding pass, you don't have to obtain one from the check-in desk. You don't want to know how often I've flown with hand luggage only and used my phone as a boarding pass.

Online check-in is often available long before departure. I remember when I was flying back from Los Angeles, I self-connected in Barcelona. I was already checked-in for my Barcelona - Eindhoven flight while I was still in Los Angeles. Of course I made that connection, but suppose that I hadn't. Then I would not have showed up for a flight which I had checked in for.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 12:37 pm

Nightmareliner wrote:
Part of it is the security aspect too - you need to know who exactly is onboard.


It would be if you had a guarantee that everybody who has checked in would actually fly, but that guarantee can't be given. You don't want to know how often someone doesn't show up for a flight which they have checked in for.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 1:01 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Dalmd88 wrote:
If you don't check in by the cut off time, they cancel your reserved seat and possibly assign it to someone else.


But should they have that right? After all you paid for that seat, regardless if you use it or not. If you don't use it, you paid for that seat to be empty. Not for it to be reassigned.


Yes, the airline is right.

I do some maths tutoring a few hours a week. If the student forgets to cancel in time, then I insist on getting paid and enjoying my free time. The student is always paying for my preparation, for traveling to his/her place - and not just for the actual tutoring lesson.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 2:41 pm

QF93 wrote:
RR757 wrote:
As for identifying criminals, many (but not all) countries require you to scan your boarding pass as you go through airport security to enter airside, so at the very least the capability exists to identify members of the FBI Most Wanted list that are in the airport.

Someone on FBI most wanted list has to be incredibly stupid to buy a ticket using their true name.
On the same token, I didn't hear about anyone on the no-fly list getting actually caught at the airport. Except for senator Kennedy.
 
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zeke
Posts: 17398
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Why do we

Sun May 15, 2022 4:32 pm

Ruddman wrote:
Are you sure?


Yes, QF for example does not sell standby fares however they have a number of different waitlist/standby options
 
IFlyVeryLittle
Topic Author
Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:31 pm

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 8:20 pm

Last few flights I took, TSA just wanted to see ID, not boarding pass (paper or digital). Though Im guessing they probably can access data on pretty much whatever they want.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 8:51 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
Dalmd88 wrote:
If you don't check in by the cut off time, they cancel your reserved seat and possibly assign it to someone else.


But should they have that right? After all you paid for that seat, regardless if you use it or not. If you don't use it, you paid for that seat to be empty. Not for it to be reassigned.


Yes, the airline is right.

I do some maths tutoring a few hours a week. If the student forgets to cancel in time, then I insist on getting paid and enjoying my free time. The student is always paying for my preparation, for traveling to his/her place - and not just for the actual tutoring lesson.


Okay, you're fully within your right to insist getting paid because you prepared those lessons and you reserved your time for them. So far I'm okay with it. However if a student forgets to cancel in time, would you accept another student to take their place and charge that student as well? Because that's what airlines do. They charge both the first and the second student for the same preparation and the same time, thus having double profits.

There's nothing wrong with you enjoying your free time, but just like that the airline should enjoy it's free seat. The seat has been paid for just like your time has been paid for.

Let's say I'm one of your students and I make a tutoring appointment with you. Then when the time comes for the tutoring session, I'm not showing up. But I do pay for it like you asked me to. I would be okay with you being free that time that you would otherwise spend tutoring me, but I would not be okay with you tutoring another student in my place during that time and charge him/her as well as me. That means you can sell the same time twice, once to me and once to the other student.

Now instead of a student I'm a passenger. I book a flight and pay for it, but at the last moment I'm not showing up. The airline reserved a seat for me, I paid for that seat. I would be okay with that seat going empty, but I'm not okay with the seat being sold to another passenger and the airline charging that passenger as well. They sell the same seat twice, once to me and once to the other passenger.

So how is the airline right in this situation? Shouldn't all no-show seats go empty and the passengers be charged for them regardless if they use them or not?
 
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flyingturtle
Posts: 6411
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 9:43 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I would be okay with you being free that time that you would otherwise spend tutoring me, but I would not be okay with you tutoring another student in my place during that time and charge him/her as well as me. That means you can sell the same time twice, once to me and once to the other student.


I don't see the problem. You can easily prevent me from earning double by showing up to the lesson. (Or cancelling in time.) In any case, earning double means that both I and the other student would have to show a lot of flexibility - lessons can't be easily re-arranged on short notice.

Likewise, an airline cannot magically conjure up an ersatz passenger. Especially for long-distance flights. If they manage to fill that seat, good for them.

And then, there comes contract law. If you find it morally perverse that I earn doubly, then I'm open to negotiate a contract that forbids me to earn twice for just one lesson.

And then, I don't have to tell you about any other contracts I might have. So to say, all the contracts live in separate worlds. As long as your contract has been fulfilled on my side - by my readiness to give the lesson at the agreed time - I'm free to do what I want. Including serving my other contractual obligations...
 
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zeke
Posts: 17398
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Sun May 15, 2022 9:50 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:

Now instead of a student I'm a passenger. I book a flight and pay for it, but at the last moment I'm not showing up. The airline reserved a seat for me, I paid for that seat. I would be okay with that seat going empty, but I'm not okay with the seat being sold to another passenger and the airline charging that passenger as well. They sell the same seat twice, once to me and once to the other passenger.

So how is the airline right in this situation? Shouldn't all no-show seats go empty and the passengers be charged for them regardless if they use them or not?


What you are describing very much depends on the ticket you decide to purchase, many tickets classes allow for you to no show and reuse that ticket. It’s the ultra cheap tickets that have strict no change rules that you accept at time of purchase in exchange for lower ticket prices that do not allow changes. Airlines will typically not resell a seat of a no show, what they will do is oversell the whole aircraft on the basis some people will not turn up or change their itinerary. The difference is in the timing, the airline will have oversold the aircraft before the person has decided to no show.
 
citationjet
Posts: 2596
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 2:26 am

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Tue May 17, 2022 1:03 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:

But should they have that right? After all you paid for that seat, regardless if you use it or not. If you don't use it, you paid for that seat to be empty. Not for it to be reassigned.


If you cancel your flight before departure, your ticket retains value as a voucher for future travel.
If you don’t cancel before departure, your ticket has lost all value.
 
kalvado
Posts: 3748
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

Re: Why do we "check in?"

Tue May 17, 2022 1:34 pm

citationjet wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:

But should they have that right? After all you paid for that seat, regardless if you use it or not. If you don't use it, you paid for that seat to be empty. Not for it to be reassigned.


If you cancel your flight before departure, your ticket retains value as a voucher for future travel.
If you don’t cancel before departure, your ticket has lost all value.

I don't think I had a ticket like that in many years. Most fares are use it or loose it, at least before covid hit.

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