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5 best ways to beat the check-in queue

August 18, 2017

“We’re all going on a summer hol… oh no, wait. Look at that check-in queue. We’ll probably be here for hours. We don’t have hours. We’re going to miss our flight! What do we do!? We’re not going to make the plane!”

Sound familiar?

Nothing sucks the fun out of pre-holiday anticipation like a queue (even if you are British!).Their long, winding appearance is enough to send your stomach into knots. Then you actually have to join it and endure endless obstacles (mainly huge luggage and kids whizzing around uncontrollably or worse… crying!).

But we’re here to tell you there are alternatives to these mile-long check-in lines. With modern technology, TripAdvisor-conscious hotels and savvy travellers we have options now to make the pre-flight experience as hassle-free as possible.

Online check-in

Most airlines now offer the option of checking in online anywhere between 24 hours and 90 minutes prior to your departure time. Then all that’s left to do is make sure your printer hasn’t accumulated so much dust it jams when asked to perform the simplest of tasks and you’re away. Seat selected, checked-in and boarding pass printed – leaving you more time when you get to the airport to browse the shops and duty free goodies.

Self-service desk

Some of the larger airlines will give you the option of doing it yourself at the airport, which drastically cuts down time spent in unwanted queues and means airline staff have less chance of hearing a cheesy airport-based joke at the counter. This useful machine allows you to scan your passport, enter your flight number, choose your seat and print your boarding pass out there and then. Bags can then be left at the drop-off point. Giving you the freedom to proudly roam the terminal with plenty of time left for perusing.

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Mobile check-in

Now this option is very handy when it comes to beating the queues. Pretty much every airline worth their in-flight meal has an app that you can do all sorts on, one thing being checking in to a flight. All you need to do is download the app of the airline you’re flying with, type in your booking confirmation when prompted and your flight details should appear on the screen. Next, you’ll go through a check-in prompt and hey presto! You’re all aboard. Some airlines let you check-in up to 30 days before your flight so for the super-organised among you, you can even check-in on your return flight… before you’ve flown out. Madness, I tell you!

Hotel check-in

If your hotel or resort offers this as an option to guests then we strongly suggest you take it. For this is the ultimate way to check-in to your flight. Don’t do it at all and let someone else take care of it! Some resorts now offer the service of checking you in to your flight before you finish your stay, leaving you more time to laze by the pool sipping cocktails with little straw umbrellas. Some luxury resorts will even send staff ahead with your luggage and drop that off too. Huzzah!

Hand luggage only

It might sound like a bit of a cop out in this expertly curated list but it’s a tried and tested method. If you’re off on a short break you can definitely manage with just a few essentials to get you through your trip. If you follow a few tricks and some of our packing hacks for travelling light, you can even squeeze a whole week’s worth of clothes into hand luggage. This means whether you check-in online, on mobile or at a self-service machine you’ll glide right past any queues and straight into duty free paradise.


Also published on Medium.

Jack O'RiordanView all posts

    Jack is the editor of The Leisure Lounge. Expert in the art of writing things and putting them online. Loves travelling, especially anywhere in southeast Asia. Hates mushrooms.