Major airline may end online check-in

BA tests service where passengers don’t check in

The now familiar process of checking in to a flight around 24 hours before departure, which appeared to be replacing standing in line at the airport, may itself be replaced by automatic check-in. British Airways is testing a new service where passengers will not have to think about checking in at all. Pre-selected BA passengers flying out of airports in France this month have the option of being automatically checked in a day before the flight, given a seat and sent an electronic boarding pass. The airline may make this a choice for all passengers by the end of 2013.
“Customers have so much to think about prior to a trip,” Frank van der Post, the airline’s managing director for brands and customer experience, explains. “We’re aiming to give them one less thing to think about. They just need to drop off any bags and make their way to the plane.”
But some observers are sceptical about the benefits. “Many airlines have recently started charging a fee for confirmed seat assignments at booking, then subsequently releasing ‘free’ seats at the 24-hour check-in mark,” Rick Seaney, CEO of, says. “It appears BA is trying to automate this contrived process.”
[pictured: British Airways Boeing 747; courtesy oneworld]