Airport Check-In: How Long
Will You Wait?
After September 11, stepped-up security measures have
prompted concerns about long lines and delays when checking in for
flights. To help passengers cope, airlines are responding by working
to reduce the security wait times at key airports and hubs. While
travelers may be willing to endure the delays for the feeling of
extra security, some airlines have taken an extra step to help their
customers deal with the remaining waits. Those airlines use the
Internet to let you know what to expect before heading off to the
New tools for customer support
websites have become a key resource for customer relationship
management (CRM) tools, which offer passengers in-depth flight
information, better deals, and other perks. Because wait times can
vary significantly by time of day and airport location, some
airlines have added a helpful feature to their websites that tracks
estimated peak and off-peak wait times. Depending on the airline,
you can check to see approximately how much time you’ll be spending
overall or at curbside check-in, at the ticket counter, and in the
security lines individually. Also depending on the airline, the
information is presented through static pages with lists, via
drop-down menus, or even by airport codes. A few minutes invested in
checking these website resources can help you plan the total amount
of wait time you need to schedule for each trip.
offering check-in information
The following are airlines
that have estimated wait times available on their websites:
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air: Shows systemwide check-in times
with tips for each airport.
- American Airlines: Shows the estimated check-in times and other airport travel advice.
- America West: Shows the estimated check-in times
at 64 airports broken down by weekday/weekend period and
additional waiting times for passengers checking luggage.
- Continental: Offers the approximate processing
time for 57 selected airports that currently require more than one
hour during peak traffic hours.
- Delta: Customers can check estimated peak
off-peak wait times for curbside check-in, ticket counters,
and security checkpoints for 384 airports worldwide.
- Southwest: Offers suggested arrival times for 59
airports. In addition, shows the number of security checkpoints at
- United: You can view estimated security
screening line times at 117 airports.
- US Airways: Select from 66 airports in a
drop-down menu to view the estimated peak and off peak times
needed for check-in.
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