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Document verification when doing online check-in

Document verification when doing online check-in

Feb 28th, 2018, 03:29 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2018
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Document verification when doing online check-in


I sometimes wish to transfer between flights which are on two different tickets, and in that case would imagine I could stay airside during the connection and just use an online-check-in boarding-pass to avoid needing to go landside to check in.
I assumed in the past that an online-check-in boarding-pass is as good as a boarding-pass acquired at a check-in counter, but recently saw a case where someone had an issue boarding with an online-check-in boarding-pass for AirAsia (it was at some airport in Australia, don't recall which one exactly ATM).
From what I understand their issue was that despite getting an online-check-in boarding-pass, they were required to undergo document-verification at the landside check-in counter when arriving at the airport, and they arrived at the gate without doing that.

In the case that landside document-verification is needed for some flight at a given airport, then it would seem impossible to stay airside during a transfer to that flight through that airport (when transferring on separate tickets at least).

I want to ask if this issue of needing to undergo document-verification landside is a peculiarity of AirAsia? does it happen in other airlines as well? is there a general rule I could use to know when I would have to pass landside and thus would not be able to do an airside transfer for a given flight? I am just hoping there is a rule that is somewhat general, so I don't need to check this with the airline for each flight I am considering purchasing, as I often connect on separate tickets.

I kept the question general in case it can be answered in general. Otherwise, I am mostly interested in non-Schengen to non-Schengen transfers through airports in Europe.
james12924 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 04:49 AM
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In the US, you cannot transfer from a domestic to an international flight without doing an in-person check-in. I can't think of an airline that would allow it because it is generally the airline's responsibility to verify that all passengers have the correct documents to travel to the destination (and are typically fined if they allow on a passenger who does not). Having said that, you normally are able (in the US at least) to do your document verification at your first point of boarding. You can probably see where I'm going with this. If you have two tickets that are not on the same airline, you very likely will not be able to check in with the second airline at your original domestic point of departure regardless of the country. I would assume other countries have similar regulations, and I doubt this is a quirk of just Australia or just Air Asia.

You don't have these issues when transferring from one domestic flight to another in the US, and I would assume that applies to many or most other countries as well. If you need to connect from one international flight to another on separate tickets, then you have to plan enough time to follow that country's transit policy. I won't address why this is generally unwise to fly on separate tickets, but needless to say there are other issues that don't involve document verification.
doug_stallings is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 08:47 AM
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In fact, the other issues are what prevent me from flying on two separate tickets on the same day: late arrival of the first flight, schedule changes of one or the other airline, luggage issues,
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 28th, 2018, 09:54 AM
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It depends on the airline, the terminal, the airport, there is no hard and fast rule. Some airlines can do document checks at the gate and you can be denied boarding at that stage if they are not in order, other airlines can only do the document checks landside, for instance, low cost carriers such as Ryanair.

I've been using separate tickets for many years now, I know there is a phobia on travel boards about doing it, but I don't pay attention to it. It just isn't possible to always have all your flights on one ticket, even with the same airline, the other phobia on travel boards is booking thru the dreaded "3rd party website" travel agents who are the only ones who can book and issue mixed airlines on a single ticket (airline websites only sell their own and services of their alliances/partners).
Odin is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 01:38 PM
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That's true (about the mixed tickets), I used to buy through an online website solely because I wanted Delta for departure and United for return, or something like that, and airlines only let you book their own partners.

But I've never tried to do what the OP asks anywhere, so have no experience on that one. I did do that in Mexico, actually, but the second flight was in Mexico, not to another country, and I had to change terminals anyway, so I don't recall where my documents were checked for the second flight. I sort of recall that after getting to the next terminal, you were in the same area as people just arriving at the airport, anyway.
Christina is offline  
Feb 28th, 2018, 09:23 PM
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In Europe, I can only think of Ryanair.
Which is not supposed to mean that there are not others.

OTOH, the necessity to get your passport/visa checked or validated does not necessarily mean you have to use landside desks.
The issue with Ryanair is that they have only landside facilities.
I you were flying, for example, British Airways from New York to Moscow via Heathrow, you would find a zillion of BA staffed help/transfer desks airside.
Or at any other hub which is dominated by one or two legacy airlines.

When I was flying to the US last year with Turkish, I could not even get the boarding pass for the connecting flight from Istanbul to Atlanta until I was changing planes in Istanbul and had my passport checked at a regular airside Turkish helpdesk - airside.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Mar 4th, 2018, 05:09 AM
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Thank you for the answers. It seems then that it is common to be able to do document verification airside, but that in general it depends on many factors, so I guess it would be necessary to confirm with the airline/airport?

Could anyone confirm that at least if there is an airside transfer desk for the relevant airline in the relevant airport, then they would be able to do any kind of document verification that landside desks would be able to do? Would there be any case where an airline's airside transfer desk and landside counter would have different capabilities?
james12924 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2018, 05:34 AM
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I can't help with Europe, but I've done this in Singapore many times - we used to fly from Pekanbaru, Indonesia to Singapore on Garuda, and then obtain our boarding passes for Singapore Air or United air side once in Changi. We also did this on the return. This is also how we transferred our luggage. The only restriction was that the transfer desk didn't open until two hours prior to the connecting flight.

I suspect most airports have transfer centers for this very purpose.
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 5th, 2018, 12:14 PM
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I have no problem with mixing two airlines or with using third-party travel agents, In these cases, as long as you book the flights at one time, it's on a single itinerary and you're covered for missed connections. It's booking tickets separately that causes problems. There are now budget flight agents, such as Kiwi, which will book you a combination itinerary using a mix of budget airlines and major airlines. They usually include connection insurance, which should cover you for a new ticket should the first flight arrive late. Still, if you book the tickets entirely separately, this insurance can't be purchased, although maybe some other travel insurance would cover it.

Skyscanner.net is a good resource for all budget flights; they hand you off to one of the third party agents after you've chosen your itinerary. At Christmas, my daughter found a flight to Italy through Skyscanner that cost hundreds of dollars less than a flight with major airlines. She flew Southwest to New York and then Norwegian Air to Italy. On the way back there were some issues caused by a major snowstorm, and it was handled perfectly well.

Given the existence of these ticket agents, I don't see why anyone needs to book two tickets separately for the same day.
bvlenci is online now  
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