When to Check in for Your Flight

When to Check in for Your Flight

When to Check in for Your Flight

On the face of it, checking in for your flight seems pretty simple – follow the time instructions listed on your boarding pass.

Once you’ve cleared security, however, it always makes sense to head directly to your departure gate. No matter how early you’ve arrived, it’s to your advantage to simply to scope out the scene.

Among the voluminous useful air travel information at WikiVoyage.org are tips on check in to ensure that something doesn’t go amok. Recognize that no matter what it says on your boarding pass about check in, the actual procedure could start earlier, or later. You need to know, especially in the case that check in starts earlier.

What’s the Big Deal?

When the flight happens to be over-booked or irregularities prevail during check-in procedure, it’s to your benefit to be early. The last thing you want to do is be approaching the gate as people are already boarding, particularly people from the zone indicated on your ticket. The cardinal rule here is to minimize any unpleasant surprises by being present, informed, and ready to act.

These days, when airlines are stingy about what you can bring on board and how much overhead compartment room is available, you want to be first in the queue when your zone is called. This helps to ensure that any carry-on luggage that you are allowed to board with you will, indeed, find a home with an available overhead compartment.

As your zone lines up after being called by the gate agent, if you’re in the last third of the line, you run the risk of encountering full overhead compartments near your seats. Perhaps more space is available further back down the aisle, but that means you’ll be departing the plane nearly last, as you wait for everyone else to scoot by.

When to Check Your Bag at the Airport

When you have to check your bag, it becomes subject to a potentially wild ride in the hands of disgruntled baggage handlers who could care less about how much you paid for your luggage and its condition. This is not a favorable situation.

Never if you can help it! A CNN.com article titled, “Confessions of a Baggage Handler,” highlighted the potential horrors that your bag might face if you check it. This includes everything from theft, to rough treatment, to gross mishandling, to getting lost. To use the overworked, but suitable phrase, “You don’t want to go there.”

Arrive at the gate early, board near the front of the line when your zone is called, place your bag in the overhead compartment, sit back, and relax to the degree that you can.

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Jeff Davidson

Work-Life Balance Expert

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com or call 919-932-1996 for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars.

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