Check-in

The flight ticket itself does not enable you to board the plane; for this, you need a boarding pass. Check-in is the process of producing your boarding pass, which includes seat numbers, departure times and gates. As a general rule, you should aim to be at the airport at least 2 hours for domestic flights (3 hours for International flights) before the scheduled departure time of your flight. In the security check, only passengers with boarding passes are admitted in. You can often do the check-in yourself electronically, either online. Check-in is not to be confused with baggage drop, which requires prior check-in.

Check in consists of three main parts, which used to be performed at the same time but can now be done separately:

  1. The actual check-in, i.e. confirming to the airline that you will take the booked flight and that the airline should expect your arrival...and possibly, look for you should you not arrive at the gate on time (depending on specific airline policies)
  2. Handing your hold luggage to ground handling staff (checking it in), who will tag it for your ticketed destination, and take care of it on its way to your airplane's luggage hold
  3. Getting your boarding pass to enable you to continue further

If you want to reduce stress, get to the airport at least an hour before the recommended minimum check-in time. Check with your airline for recommended minimum check-in times.

With some airlines you will receive a boarding pass with a seat assignment, while some do not assign seats. You will need a boarding pass to present to the security staff and later to the gate staff when boarding the flight. At this time, your checked luggage will be weighed, labelled, and handed off to baggage handlers.

Security Check

You'll usually check any luggage with the airline at the ticket counter. It will be at least electronically screened for security as it goes to a holding area to be loaded on your flight.

Then, as you walk to your gate, you and your carry-ons must go through personal security screening. It involves the following basic steps (depending somewhat on whether the flight is domestic or international and the country's detailed policies).

  • You must present identification (perhaps except for toddlers) and boarding pass(es) for your flight. Keep your ID and boarding passes with you throughout the process.
  • You'll be instructed to:
    • Remove all bulky outer garments (e.g., sweaters, jackets) and (often) your shoes...and place them in a bin/tub going through separate electronic scanning or manual inspection.
    • Place all carry-on bags/purses/laptops and the clear bag of liquids in tubs/bins on the line for separate scanning, laptops separated from any case and its accessories. Put the clear bag of liquids on top where it can be easily seen/inspected.
      • This is your last opportunity to avoid delays, by placing all metal or electronic items (e.g., cell phones, coins, keys) into a bin/tub.
    • Proceed to a nearby point for personal/body screening, electronic and/or manual. Any metal object will generate an alarm. You'll be directed to return to the carry-on scanning line and place "offending" items in a bin/tub for separate screening.

In general, you will not be allowed to carry any sharp objects (eg. knives, scissors, razor blades) or firearms onto a flight, and these items must be put in your check-in baggage. There is also a restriction on the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels that you may carry for flights in the European Union, as well as all other international flights. Also note that you may only purchase duty free liquids (i.e. liquor, perfume, etc.) at the stop before your final leg. In other words, if you have any stopovers, you should not purchase duty free items at the beginning of your journey, and should only do so at your final stopover.

If you have any kind of metal in your body for any reason (e.g., pace-maker, artificial joint, combat wound), be prepared for the alarms as you go through body scanning. Your doctor may help you obtain some form of proof for TSA or other security inspectors. This may avoid an unnecessarily invasive pat-down.

Golden rules

  • Always keep your luggage with you until you've checked your large pieces, then carry-ons before and after personal security check. Security officials take unattended items very seriously. If one is found and the owner is not within reach to claim it, it may trigger an alert, resulting in the affected area being "locked-down", and inspection of the suspicious piece of luggage by experts. The result will be serious inconvenience for a lot of people, and for you perhaps fines or the loss of your property (it may even be destroyed).
  • Never make jokes about bombs, weapons, or other security threats. There is no room for humor on this topic; rather than relying on their individual subjective judgement, security personnel are required to take any such joke as a serious statement. You will be checked more thoroughly and/or escorted off the premises in some cases. Jokes may even be treated as a criminal offense, with charges filed against you, leading to fines and/or imprisonment.
  • Make sure you leave enough time for security checks - it is your responsibility to make it through them in time to get to your boarding gate before it closes. Most airlines and airports advise how much time in advance you should arrive to be on the safe side. When you believe you may be running late anyway, make sure to indicate to the airport staff that your gate closes shortly - in some cases you may find them willing to arrange for expedited security check for you not to miss your flight. That said, all the speeding up they can do is pretty much allow you to jump the queue - the check itself cannot be sped up, and if you or your luggage are found to require extra inspection, it will proceed as usual regardless of your flight time.

Passport Control

Border security measures are border control policies adopted by a country or group of countries to fight against unauthorised travel or trade across its borders, limit illegal immigration, combat transnational crime, and prevent wanted criminals from travelling.

Boarding

Your boarding ticket specifies Boarding time, which is when boarding starts (not when it ends). Usually the boarding starts even after the printed time, but for short flights at least 30+ minutes before departure...for international flights on large aircraft, sometimes 45+ minutes.

The gate closes (boarding stops) usually only 10–15 minutes before departure so give yourself plenty of time to get to the gate, especially if the airport is large, you are far away from the gate, or you don't know your way around the airport. Contact your travel agent for advice.

Wi-Fi

Wi-fi is available all over the Arrivals and Departure terminals. Wi-fi is free of charge.

Currency exchange

There is a automated currency exchange machine in the Arrivals Terminal.

Baby care rooms

After check-in, security control, Passport control, in the waiting area there is a special room for Mother and Child where young children can play or where mothers can change the diapers.

Smoking lounges

Sorry, but smoking is not allowed in the Terminals. The good news is there are smoking places outside the Terminal as well as a smoking lounge in the Departure Terminal, Waiting area. To find them, just follow the signs.

Emergency & medical

If you’re taken ill while at our airport, please don’t worry. We have excellent medical facilities and response teams on hand 24/7.

For emergencies, call: 112, use the nearest information phone in the Terminal, or ask for help to any of our handling operators nearby.

Baggage wrapping

Available at the check-in areas of Departure Terminal. It’s a good idea to weigh your bags before you have them wrapped, thus avoiding unnecessary delays at the check-in counter.

Baggage reclaim

Signs above each carousel show which flight(s) bags are from.

Lost and found

The lost luggage office is situated in the arrival terminal.
In case of losing a luggage, all the passengers must list the contents of their baggage and file a claim.

To deal with lost luggage travelers are advised to carry all essentials in a carry-on bag, including a change of clothes and anything they would be greatly troubled to lose because of monetary or emotional value.

Security delays can also cause bags to arrive on a later flight than their owner. Customs processing is normally handled after luggage is picked up.