Flight has changed in a bajillion ways over the course of the past 100 years. On the one hand, planes are safer and faster, plus you can fly further and to more places. On the other hand, heaven knows the price to fly has increased exponentially, while the entire process has become more and more uncomfortable.
The whole process of things that happen before going on your plane has also changed over the years. Yet one thing remains status quo – you still have to check in.
The check-in process has also changed – we’ve gone from all human to computers and are now working our way to self-check-in and all digital. Yet we’re 100 years in and we STILL have to check in.
What’s up with that?
It turns out there are a few reasons.
Just because you’ve paid for a plane ticket doesn’t always mean you’re going to be on that plane. Things happen. And with airlines double booking, or people waiting on standby, they want to know that you still plan to be there. If you check in, the airline can be relatively sure that’s going to happen. If you didn’t have to check in, there’d be no way to know for sure you’re going to be on the plane until you show up (or not).
Ensuring You Promise You Know The Rules
The U.S. federal government mandates that travelers acknowledge certain things (i.e., the items prohibited aboard airplanes [no toxic chemicals, flammable items, etc.] may be brought aboard the plane) before they’re allowed on the plane. The airlines ensure this is done by reminding/asking you about such things during the check-in process.
It’s An Opportunity For Upselling
Would you like an upgrade to an exit row for $100? (that really happened!) Do you have more luggage than you thought and need to pay for another bag or an oversized one? (the legacy carriers did drop this bag fee, which is nice) All those upsells are a last-ditch effort to get more money out of you before you fly.
Could we get around all of those things and end checking in? Maybe. But for now, checking in is still something you have to do if you want to fly.
Feature Photo: American Airlines
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary