How Do Automatic Check-In Terminals Work?

How do automatic check-in terminals work? Many airlines now offer check-in via self-serve kiosks, which are generally located near the airline's main ticket counter. Be prepared to swipe your credit card and/or enter your confirmation number to obtain your boarding card at a kiosk.

Many airlines today are offering new and quicker ways of checking in at the airport. The traditional check-in counter with attendants will not go away, but in certain situations, you can avoid these lines. Call or check your airlines website for specific information as services and details vary between them. These options are especially great at peak travel times. Even if you have to check baggage, having your seats and boarding pass allows you to skip one-step of the check-in process, the ticket counter.


"Many airlines now offer check-in via self-serve kiosks, which are generally located near the airline's main ticket counter. Be prepared to swipe your credit card and/or enter your confirmation number to obtain your boarding card at a kiosk," says Paula Berg of Southwest Airlines.




Automatic check-in terminals or kiosks are a newer way to save time when catching a flight. They offer self-service check-in at almost all airports. These kiosks allow someone to select a seat assignment and print off a boarding pass. You can also check luggage at these automatic terminals. They will print off tags that you attach to your luggage. A uniformed airline attendant is usually nearby to collect the bags and send them through to the airplane.

An even newer automatic check-in option is online check-in over the Internet. The process is available for persons using an electronic ticket or e-ticket. However, this option is typically for domestic travel only. You can check in for your flight, select a seat assignment and print a boarding pass up to 24 hours before the flight. This is available through the airline's web site. Make sure you have a confirmation number, as this is what the software uses to assign flight information. Some airlines require you to be a frequent flyer member. There is a limit as to how early an airline will allow you to check in and print a boarding pass for a particular flight.

"If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to ask an airline Employee if there are kiosks in another location, which can save you a wait in line. At the Phoenix Airport, for example, Southwest Airlines has self-serve kiosks near the main ticket counter, but they also have several located near the security checkpoint, which few people know about," said Paula Berg.

You need the boarding pass, along with the proper identification to pass through the security checkpoints. Make sure that the copy of the electronic receipt or boarding pass you have is acceptable and easily located on your person, as you may have to present it several times before entering the aircraft.

Airlines are doing as much as they can to encourage travelers to use automatic check-in options. This saves them money in many areas, such as paying attendants to work the check-in counter and using less paper for printing tickets and other information. The kiosks and Internet check-in options are two of the ways that airlines are improving customer service and satisfaction. By giving travelers more options, they are able to serve more passengers.

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