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Airport Check In

I don't fly that often, I am flying overseas in September. I know that I can check in online, but wondering before our long haul flight does someone from the airline have to check your passport?

When I flew to Russia many many years ago I remember someone checking our passports and asking questions ect...

How does it work now?

Oh and we will not be checking bags just carry on.

Thanks for your help,

Posted by
1167 posts

You will need to show your passport and for this reason at least some airlines do not allow online check-in for international flights.

Posted by
23472 posts

Even with on-line checkin you have to stop at the counter to have your passport checked. It appears random but in the Malaga airport last year returning directly to the US a uniform female went down the line checking passports and asking question about what we saw and what we liked in Spain. Similar experience in Athens to Rome last Fall. Never had anything like this on the US side but more common on the European side. Keep it handy and make sure you have expiration is good. Within the past year someone posted on this site that their daughter's passport had expired while in Italy and the airline refused to board them for the trip home.

Posted by
3580 posts

I flew from San Francisco recently. My passport and driver's license were checked in the security line process.

Posted by
12193 posts

I think it's a little different for each airline but they are all required to ensure you have required documentation for entering the country when you land.

I'm flying with SAS for the first time this year. I prefiled our names, passport numbers and dobs with them online already. I notice they allow online check in for international flights (and we will carry-on only) but I haven't figured out what their passport check will be yet - I just know they'll have one.

You will want your passport and plane ticket also for TSA when entering the security line.

Posted by
265 posts

Normally, at least for intra-Europe flight, there is now a mandatory ID check at the gate for all passengers. The reason is to ensure that the person on the ticket is actually the person flying. If you check in online, you will only be checked at the gate. If you check in at the counter you will both be checked at the check-in counter and at the gate. If you check in online with luggage and drop your bags at a bag drop point, you will ID checked at the bag drop and at the gate. Variations to this apply, of course depending on airline and airport.

Posted by
713 posts

I'm sure that your airline's online check-in system will inform you, when you use it, of the ID/documentation requirements and how to proceed when you get to the airport.

Based on my experiences using BA's online check-in to fly from a US airport nonstop to London, you should expect to, at a minimum, show your passport and boarding pass to the TSA in order to be admitted to security screening. I suppose it's possible that despite your lack of checked luggage, your airline could also require you to go to their ticket counter before going to security, and show your passport to them.

Posted by
769 posts

every european bound flight Ive been on that I can rememeber wanted passport at check in counter. You will of course have it on you so just have it ready - you can stuff it back in your money belt after you get through security and sitting with a coffee comfortably and early at the gate!

Posted by
15717 posts

As mentioned earlier, at some point, you will have to show your passport to an airline employee. (TSA is totally different.) Even if you check in online, you'll at least show your passport at the gate.

If an airline allows you to fly internationally without a passport, they get fined.