In order to board a commercial aircraft as a passenger, you must have a valid boarding pass. You will receive this at check-in, which can now also be carried out online in many cases. But why can't the boarding passes be issued in one transaction with the booking?
In the world of aviation, check-in plays a crucial role in getting passengers to their destination smoothly and safely. But why do air travelers have to go through this seemingly time-consuming step, while such processes do not exist in rail transport?
Why is check-in necessary?
Aviation check-in serves several purposes, all of which help ensure orderly and safe flight operations. One of the main reasons is to verify passenger identity and security. Legislation and regulations set by aviation authorities around the world require airlines to ensure that only authorized persons board their aircraft.
The check-in process:
There are different ways to check in:
Internet check-in: This method allows passengers to confirm their flight via the Internet from the comfort of their own home or on the go. The airline, flight number, travel dates and passenger identity are checked. After successful verification, the passenger can print out the boarding pass or download a mobile boarding pass onto their smartphone.
Machine check-in: Many airports offer self-service terminals where passengers can check-in. Similar to internet check-in, flight details and passenger identity must be entered. The machine then issues the boarding pass.
What is checked at check-in?
During check-in, especially at the airport counter, staff checks various important details:
Passenger identification: The details on the ID document must match the details on the flight booking to ensure that the correct person is traveling.
Security checks: Staff carry out security checks to ensure that no dangerous items enter the aircraft.
Baggage check: Inspection of checked baggage to ensure no prohibited or dangerous items are being transported.
Booking verification: Staff will ensure that the passenger is on the correct flight and seat and that no important changes need to be made to the booking.
The check-in process is regulated by national and international laws and regulations to ensure the safety and smooth flow of air traffic. This includes requirements for verifying passenger identity, security checks and other security-related aspects. The exact requirements vary by country and airline, but they are necessary to ensure the safety of passengers.
Why not when booking?
A legitimate question is why airlines don't issue boarding passes at the time of booking. This is because flight schedules and seat availability may change between now and departure. Check-in allows airlines to ensure all passengers are on the current flight and seats and make changes if necessary.
There are some airlines that allow you to check in immediately after booking. Sometimes this is tied to a paid seat reservation. However, there is still no airline - at least in Europe - that issues boarding passes together with online booking in one process.
Why no check-in on train services?
In contrast to aviation, rail transport does not require a complex check-in. This is mainly because the safety requirements in rail transport are less strict. Trains are more accessible and routes are often shorter, reducing the need for extensive security checks. In addition, identifying and booking passengers in train transport is easier to manage as the number of travelers is less.
Overall, check-in in aviation serves to ensure safety and the smooth running of flight operations. Although it may sometimes seem inconvenient for passengers, it is an essential step in maintaining passengers' confidence in the safety and punctuality of air transport.