Be sure to check your door number on the display boards (some airports no longer make verbal announcements) as well as the closing time (generally 10 to 30 minutes before take-off).
Also important: the distance that separates you from the boarding gate (huge in some international airports). Don’t arrive at the last minute.
Boarding is the moment when passengers enter the international area to board their plane. Passport and security checks and boarding can sometimes take longer than expected. Thus, to avoid delays, it is necessary to arrive at the airport on time and be at the boarding gate early, especially during school vacation periods. This is the submission deadline.
If you have checked in on the Internet or via a mobile phone and do not have baggage to leave in the hold, you may arrive at the airport a little later. However, it is mandatory to respect the presentation deadline, after which you will no longer be allowed to board. Please note: the deadline for presentation may be different from one company to another, and also depends on the destination. It advises you to check with your company before your departure.
Deadline for presentation at the boarding gate
Around 10 to 20 minutes for short and medium-haul flights
About 40 minutes for long-haul flights
The time passengers can board the plane and the boarding gate number are shown on the boarding pass and on several information screens located around the airport. Since the door number may change, it is important to pay close attention to microphone announcements and terminal information screens.
Arrival at the airport
– The basic rule for any flight is to arrive at least 2 hours before the flight’s take-off time.
– Be careful when booking your ticket during departure times, but also when baggage check-in closes and when boarding begins.
– To avoid any stress related to departure, take the trouble to leave well in advance so that you can be at the airport 2 hours before departure. This will give you plenty of time to complete all the formalities it is going to describe, even in the event of a problem or unforeseen event.
– If you are leaving very early in the morning, do not hesitate to book a hotel room at the airport in order to get closer, rather than taking the risk with reduced nightly public transport …
– If necessary, consult the website of the airport you are going to for access to all practical transport information.
– Please note, some large airports have several terminals, so find out beforehand to find out which terminal your flight departs from.
The boarding gate
Once you have passed security checks you can precede to your embarkation port:
– The boarding gate number is shown on your boarding pass, as well as on the notice boards.
– This is where you await the start of boarding the plane. Cafés, newsagents, even a shopping arcade and tax-free products are generally accessible before the boarding gate.
– It is not uncommon for the boarding gate to be changed shortly before departure, depending on the needs of the airport. Pay attention to announcements and the bulletin board.
– The flight attendants made their appearance for the preparations for departure. Now is the time to consult them if necessary (eg fear of flying).
– Boarding is announced, usually starting with business classes, priority passengers … then by seat number brackets (indicated on your boarding pass).
– A final check of your boarding pass and your ID is done before boarding. Keep them close at hand.
Arrive on time
Find out about the Check-in Deadline (or HLE), which determines the time after which the boarding of a passenger is no longer accepted, generally 20 minutes to 2 hours before take-off, depending on the companies and destinations.
Less and less often, you are asked for confirmation: if this is the case, do not forget to confirm your return “at the latest 72 hours before” with the company or one of its local representatives under penalty of see, if necessary, cancel your return flight.
Warning: It is more and more common to have to pay to choose your seat when checking in online, possible up to 48 hours before the flight. It is better to wait until you are at the airport and change chairs when depositing your luggage.
Have all your travel documents with you on the day of flight
It sounds silly like that, but make sure you have the documents required by the destination country. Also print your electronic ticket, you may be asked to justify a return flight to customs.
How is the automatic registration process carried out?
It is done at the company counter or at the automatic check-in machines. This is the operation which consists, on presentation of their identity document and supporting documents (electronic ticket, frequent flyer card, etc), to validate their passage and the deposit of luggage in the hold.
It is now possible to check-in in advance on the Internet (24 to 48 hours before the flight), to receive your boarding pass on your smartphone and to drop off your luggage at the designated counters at the airport. You must also present your identity papers. Two advantages: choosing your chair on the plane before others and saving time, but some companies charge for the choice of seat. If you are traveling without baggage in the hold, you can then proceed directly to the boarding gate:
– Some low cost, including Air Belgium, requires that check-in be done via the Internet. Airport check-in fees are very high.
– For a charter flight, you must first go to the counter of the tour operator where you will be given your ticket.
Advice for a successful boarding
To avoid stress and delay, be at the airport well before the check-in deadline for your flight.
Prefer online check-in on your airline’s website, for example on this page to check-in for an Air France flight. This will save you time at the airport and skip the wait at self-service kiosks or at the check-in counter.
If you are checked in, have your boarding pass and your checked baggage is dropped off, go directly to security to access the boarding area.