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Airline Check-In for International Travel to the USA

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there are a few things you need to know about airline check-in for international travel to the United States. The process is slightly different from what you may be used to, so it’s important to be prepared.

Airline check-in for international travel to the U.S.A. can be a bit of a process, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s what you need to know:

Check-in typically opens between 3 and 4 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

Find your airline’s check-in desk. This is usually located in the main terminal near your departure
gate.

Get in line and wait your turn. Be sure to have your passport and boarding pass ready when it’s your turn to approach the counter.

The agent will ask for your documents and may ask some questions about your travel plans. They will then issue you a boarding pass and baggage tag (if you are checking bags).

If you are checking bags, proceed to the designated area to weigh them and attach the tags. Then, place them on the conveyor belt to be loaded onto the plane.

Proceed through security screening. 

Airline check-in for international travel to the U.S.A. can be a bit of a process, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s what you need to know:

Documents

You will need to present certain documents at your airline check-in. These include a valid passport, a visa (if required), and a completed I-94 form.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the United States, and it should have enough blank pages for entry and exit stamps. If you do not have a visa, you will need to apply for one at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country.

The I-94 form is an arrival/departure record that must be completed by all foreign nationals entering the United States. You can find the form online, or you can get it from your airline or travel agent.
Be sure to complete the form accurately and completely before arriving at the airport.

Costs

Most airlines will charge a fee for checking in at the airport. This fee is usually around $25 per person but can vary depending on the airline. 

If you are checking in online or via mobile phone, you may also be charged a fee. This fee is typically around $5 per person. 

If you need to change your flight or seat assignment, you will likely be charged a change fee. This fee is typically around $100 per person.

Advantages of checking in online

1. Check in online and you won’t have to worry about losing your boarding pass or having it stolen.

2. You can check in from the comfort of your own home or office, without having to go to the airport.

3. Check in online and you can choose your seat, so you can be sure to sit with your family or friends.

4. You can avoid queues at the airport by checking in online.

Do’s and Don’ts once you enter the terminal

When you arrive at the airport, the first thing you need to do is find the check-in area for your airline. Once you find the right area, look for signs or monitors that say “Passenger Check-In.”

Next, locate the check-in kiosks or desks foryour airline. If you have bags to check, there will be a separate line for this. Follow the instructions on the screen or from the agent and have your
passport and boarding pass ready.

If you are checking bags, make sure you know the  weight and size restrictions for your airline. You will also need to attach any required tags to your luggage. The agent will print out your boarding pass after they weigh and tag your bags.

Once you have your boarding pass, find the security screening area for your terminal. There will be signs directing you to the right place. Have your passport and boarding pass ready when going through security. You may also be asked to take off shoes, belts, and jackets as well as put laptops, liquids, and other electronics in a bin for x-ray screening.

After security, head to your gate. Your boarding pass will tell you what gate you need to go to. Once at the gate, wait until they start calling passengers by rows or groups before lining up to board the plane. When it’s time to board, have your passport and boarding pass ready again as well as any carry.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all airline passengers to present a valid passport when checking in for international travel to the United States. This requirement applies to U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens alike.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however, such as for passengers traveling on certain “closed loop” cruises (i.e., cruises that start and end in the same U.S. port) and children under the age of 16 who are traveling with a parent or guardian who holds a valid passport. For more information on these exceptions, please see the DHS website or contact your airline directly.

If you are not sure if you need a passport for your upcoming travel, please check the requirements of the country or countries you will be visiting and/or transition.