How To Check-In For International Flight

Flying internationally can overwhelming, especially for your first time leaving the country. There is a system to follow and the steps are essentially simple. Read on to see what we've uncovered about checking in, getting through security, boarding, and enjoying the trip.

Proceed to the airline's check-in counter to present all the required documents - passport or passport card and travel visa. After verification, you will be issued a boarding pass with all the details of your flight (boarding time, gate, seat number, etc.).

Before actually getting on the plane, you will have to go through a series of security checks. Finally, present your boarding pass at the gate to enter the plane.

Aside from checking in, the article includes a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for the trip, navigating through the steps of the airport, and guidelines and tips on how to make the process go smoother.

Preparing for an International Flight

Preparing for a trip is quite exciting, especially if you are on vacation and traveling internationally. That being said, here is a checklist of what you should and should not bring:


Boarding pass, passports, smartphone with online airline tickets booking

Presenting the right travel documents is necessary when flying internationally. The papers serve as your identification, allowing you to cross international borders.

This includes your passport, passport card, and travel visa. Other credentials you could bring with you are your driver’s license or state ID card.

Personal, Carry On, and Checked Baggage

Personal, carry-on, and checked baggage have size limitations that should be strictly followed to avoid hefty fees and charges.

Most airlines allow travelers one personal bag that should fit under the seat in front, and one carry-on that goes into the overhead compartment inside the cabin. The rest of the bags have to be checked in.

Check out this approved Carry On Luggage Set (22x14x9) on Amazon.

TSA Limitations

Before you begin to pack for the trip, remember to follow TSA guidelines for a smoother screening process. All forms of liquid should not exceed 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters.

Any container that exceeds the liquid limit is not allowed with the exception of medications (in reasonable quantity) and baby foods.

The Flight Process: Your Ultimate Guide For International Travel

Woman using the check-in machine at the airport getting the boarding pass, How To Check-In For International Flight

Traveling internationally is both exciting and scary, especially if it is your first time. But do not worry too much because we will guide you through the entire process.

1. Time Allowance

If it is your first experience with air travel, you may wonder why most airlines require travelers to check in 2 to 3 hours before the flight. There are actually good reasons for this.

First, you will have to go through several steps before you finally board the plane, like checking in, security stops, customs, and depositing baggage. All the procedures involve waiting in lines, especially on busy days.

Second, international airports are notably huge, and it may take time to get from one point to another. To save time, know your terminal beforehand since looking for it at the last minute may prove tricky, especially in big airports.

2. Checking-In

Check-in desks at the airport

The checking-in process, which is the initial step once you get to the airport confirms your booking with the air company.

First, look for the check-in area of your specific airline and prepare your documents beforehand. This includes IDs and passports. Show your travel papers to the attendant to confirm your booking.

After the confirmation, all your bags will be weighed individually to ascertain that they do not exceed the weight limit. Depending on the airline, both your personal and carry-on might not be weighed as long as they conform to the required size.

A tag labeled with a specific ID and flight information will be attached to your checked luggage pieces to ensure they end up on the right plane.

Online Check-In

Online check-in gives you the luxury of checking in advance and having a copy of your boarding pass and baggage tags in the comfort of your own home. This can save you time from queuing in long lines.

If you have a carry-on, you can go directly to security since you already have your e-ticket with you.

On the contrary, if you did bring checked baggage such as large suitcases or luggage pieces, look for a sign that says "bag drop only." The staff will acquire the luggage from you and take it to the plane. Do not forget to place the baggage tags on each item!

3. Security Checkpoint

Man holding passport at airport security check

Security checkpoint is the first screening process wherein you will be asked to place all your belongings in individual trays for the x-ray. Make sure to remove your jacket, belts, and other metal items and put them in a separate tray then proceed to the metal detector.

Security screening is mandatory. The goal is to search if there are any prohibited objects inside your bag. The classifications of illegal items could vary from country to country so it is still best to know the rules and regulations of your destination.

4. Immigration And Customs

Going through customs and immigration is second in the screening process. A security personnel will interview and ask questions pertaining to your travels. It will be necessary to show your travel documents to confirm your identification.

At customs, talk to an attendant and request to register certain items you brought with you. This may include a Rolex watch, diamond earrings, and other similar personal items.

By doing so, you are claiming that you own the said items before leaving the country, and as such, be exempted from customs fees once you return.

5. Find Your Gate

Information sign board at the airport

The airport can be larger than expected, and as such, be sure to find your gate first. Look for signs and directions – usually hanging from the ceiling – these will lead you to your gate.

In most instances, the gate number is already indicated in the boarding pass, otherwise, you will have to look for it on the flight monitors. Check the screen occasionally for updates because the number and terminal have the possibility to change.

After finding your gate, wait for the boarding time. If there is enough time to spare, you may wander around and look for something to eat. The cost could be expensive, but food and beverage tend to be pricier on the plane.

6. Boarding

Depending on the airline, boarding is usually prioritized by class – first class, business class, and economy. Wait for your group to be called before falling in line. In most instances, a priority lane is provided for special groups including people with children and those that have elite status.

During your turn, an attendant will ask for your ID before scanning your boarding pass. Once finished, you can now walk through the jet bridge and board the plane. Look for your seat number and place your carry-on inside the overhead compartment.

Fasten your seatbelt and wait for the takeoff. Flight attendants usually demonstrate safety procedures and protocols so make sure to listen carefully.

Do I Need To Print My Boarding Pass?

Boarding pass tickets on the wooden table

If you are checking in online, you have the option to either print your boarding pass or simply show it from your mobile phone along with your passport or valid ID.

While this is the case, it is still advisable to have a hard copy in case of any emergency, especially if traveling internationally.

Particular airlines are strict and do not allow a mobile ticket as a valid boarding pass. Not to mention countries that require the passes to be stamped as part of their initial security check.

Aside from this, some airports will scan your boarding ticket as you approach the security checkpoint. This becomes a problem if you have already placed your mobile phone inside your carry-on that is about to enter the x-ray machine.

While mobile boarding passes seem like the simplest option, it is still best to have a hard copy on hand to avoid any future problems.

In Closing

Knowing the steps and procedures beforehand will enable you to go through the airport process simply and without hassle. Arrive early, check in on time, and make sure to pack right to pass through security checks easily. We hope the article helped you. Enjoy your trip!

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