The online check in process appears to be fairly harmless. But practices that differ wildly by airline can confuse things.
Ryanair scare the life out of your phone battery. Because if your phone fails and you don’t have a self printed A4 boarding pass covered in printed adverts that wiped out your annual supply of printer ink, they want £50. Each. To print a boarding pass on a piece of toilet paper. I bet they save their own ink too!
British Airways, Iberia, Flybe, Sky Chile, LATAM don’t give a dam about your electronic boarding pass. Yes, you’ve checked in. But then they issue you with a new scrap of paper whether you want it or not with the all important bar code to access the security queue with.
These airlines don’t exactly work to standards on check in rules. We’re checked in for our Ryanair return flights on 27th September. It’s another two days from now before I can check in for British Airways flights almost three weeks earlier.
Ryanair are less generous if we’ve not booked luggage as part of their flexi fate (or some such similar name). The return flight check in is restricted to four days before the flight. Panic if your hut near a foreign beach lacks wifi. I assume hoards of holiday makers arrive at Spanish airports desperately seeking wifi to enable a last minute check in before sneaking their oversized hand luggage into overhead lockers. Otherwise they’re screwed for the inevitable paper printing fee.
I can’t recall how Easyjet and Wizzair went about it. Other than still having my Wizz boarding passes is some sort of online wallet app on my phone. LATAM had a 24 hour lead in time for their flights. Getting wifi on Easter Island to achieve this was nearly impossible.
But having your wits about you and a properly charged phone seems to be the best way of managing a process that adds about three seconds to check in time at bag drop if you don’t bother. As long as there’s wifi!