Check-in times vary from airline to airline, so it is advisable to check in well in advance of
your departure date. Once you know about how much time to leave before check in, you will need to
factor in how much time you need get through security and reach the departure gate with plenty of
time to board your flight.
Many airlines provide information on their website about when to be present at the airport for
check in. This information is usually easy to find, but a number of the larger global airlines do
not publish check in times as they vary from country to country. In these situations, you may need
to call the airline you are flying with, check your booking confirmation or check with your travel
Unfortunately, not all airlines make this information easy to find and you may need to dig
around on the website to find out your check in deadline time. This information may be in the terms
and conditions, conditions of carriage or perhaps in the FAQ’s section of the airline’s
Many airlines offer the option of being able to check in online (and some only allow on-line
check-in). If you check in online, you will either have to print out your boarding pass or, in some
cases, you will have it on your mobile phone. This can help save you time, but it is important to
keep the print out safe as you may be charged for another copy. Be aware also that some airlines
require boarding passes that you print at home to be in a specific format (e.g. A4 single
Once you reach the airport, you can then deposit any luggage (if you are taking any) at a
Depending on the airline you’re flying with, it can be cheaper to check-in online, although you
should be aware that some airlines charge you to check in online. Not only is it sometimes cheaper,
but you can also save yourself the hassle of standing in line at the airport to check in. If you
choose to check in on-line, the time you need to arrive at the airport may vary again depending on
whether you have baggage or not.
Be aware that some airlines require all passengers to check-in online and will charge you at the
airport if they have to print out your boarding card. In some cases this charge can be over one
The Department for Transport is responsible for the security of UK airports. Their policies are
implemented at each airport by the airport security staff. Airlines and travel companies do not set
Before flying, you will go through airport security. These measures are in place to
help maintain your safety, so familiarise yourself with the rules: this will help you pass through
the security checks as quickly as possible. Restrictions on what you can take on board vary from
time to time, so we recommend you read the latest security advice before every flight from the UK. We have produced additional detailed guidance on certain items that can cause issues at airport security.
Please remember that although all airports must adhere to relevant aviation security requirements, security procedures may vary from airport to airport. More information
can be found on the website of the airport you are flying from, and usually from that of your
airline or travel company.
Aviation security staff have no powers of search. However, submitting to search when requested is a condition of entry to the secure area of the airport. A refusal to submit to search will mean that you will not be allowed to fly.
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