Saturday, April 30, 2005

Travelers Advantage(R) Travel Tips: Online Check-In Emerges as Convenient Time Saver in Security Age

Online airline check-in is the hot new trend among on-the-go travelers who seek to save time, avoid lines, efficiently navigate airport security and take-off on their adventure.

Most major airlines now offer online service that allows you to check-in, print your boarding pass or even change your seat assignments -- all with the click of a mouse, according to Travelers Advantage. You can get it all from the convenience of your home PC, hotel room or even aboard your cruise. And some airlines are even offering bonus frequent flier miles and other incentives for online check-in customers.

A recent J.D. Power and Associates study found that more than half of airline passengers are taking advantage of time-saving check-in options, with 38 percent currently using self-check-in kiosks and 17 percent checking in online through airline websites. The study also found that passengers using kiosks wait half as long for their boarding passes as those who interact with an airline representative. Passengers using electronic kiosks wait an average of 7.2 minutes for a boarding pass, compared with 14.2 minutes at the ticket counter and 9.4 minutes at curbside check-in.

Most airlines allow you to check-in and get boarding passes online from 24 hours to 30 minutes prior to your flight, depending on the carrier.

"Airports across the globe feature electronic check-in kiosks that have become second nature to many savvy world travelers," said Julia Ryan, vice president of Travelers Advantage and TravelersAdvantage.com. "The next level of convenience in travel is online check-in, which allows you to print your boarding pass before you step out of your hotel room or set foot at the airport."

The virtual travel experts at TravelersAdvantage.com offer these tips about online check-in:



1. Click It & Ticket ... You can check-in, print your boarding pass,
change seat assignments, receive upgrades and earn frequent flyer
miles -- all online at your airline's website. Finally, you can avoid
the long lines at check-in. Confirm with your airline, as each one
offers different check-in features.

2. When to Check-In Online ... Most airlines allow you to check-in and
get your boarding passes online from 24 hours to 30 minutes prior to
your flight. This is your opportunity to try the ease of online
check-in!

3. Have E-Ticket, Will Travel ... The convenience of online check-in is
available to travelers with ticketless airline reservations. Keep
your e-ticket, ticket number and frequent flyer number handy to
expedite your request and earn points while cruising the online
expressway.

4. Printer Friendly ... Make sure you have access to a printer in your
hotel, on your cruise or in your home. Some airlines allow you to
reprint your boarding pass multiple times, while others only allow you
to print your boarding pass once. If a printer is not available when
you complete your online check-in, you may have to visit an airline
agent once you arrive at the airport. Please check with your airline,
as policies and procedures can vary.

5. Domestic or International Flights? ... Most airlines offer domestic
online check-in operations, and some -- Continental, Northwest and
U.S. Airways -- also feature international online check-in.

6. Arrival Time ... You should arrive one-to-two hours prior to your
departure. The time might vary depending upon your destination and if
you have baggage to check.


7. Checked Bags for Online Travelers ... No need to worry about checking your bags when using online check-in. Most airlines allow you to check bags using either curbside or the self-serve kiosks.

8. Why Should I Use Online Check-In? ... Some airlines -- U.S. Airways, Delta and Northwest -- offer bonus miles and/or seating upgrades when you use online check-in. Consult your airline and discover your
reward!

9. Security Checkpoint-ers ... place valuables in carry-on baggage; stow mobile phones, keys, loose change, money clips, metal hair accessories, etc., in carry-on; remove laptop from case to send through X-ray on trays; wait until you reach your destination to wrap any gifts; remove belt and shoes; take a deep breath and take your
time unpacking and repacking your belongings so you don't leave anything behind.

10. Cool Travel Gadgets Get You There In Style ... GPS devices/electronic maps; MP3 players & iPods; digital travel alarm; portable DVD players; Buckey Pillows, travel pillows & travel massagers; digital cameras, PDAs, mobile phones; and laptops all add pizzazz to your trip.

Source: PR Newswire Association LLC.

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