If you want to board an aircraft, you need a ticket: the boarding pass. A boarding pass is a document that entitles passengers to board the aircraft for the flight they have booked. It is comparable to a ticket and must be presented to the airline at the boarding gate. But what makes a boarding pass so special, and what is behind the boarding process? In this blog post (article) we will explain in detail what a boarding pass is, what information it contains, and how to get one.
What is a boarding pass and why do you need one?
A boarding pass is a ticket that all air travellers need for their flight. A boarding pass is a document that a traveller must show when boarding an aircraft. This confirms that you have completed check-in and are therefore entitled to board the aircraft. The boarding pass can be issued as a ticket for you and your fellow passengers on your behalf and is used for baggage identification at the airport. The Boarding Pass gives you access to check-in, security, information about your aircraft and to collect your baggage.
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How do I get my boarding pass?
To get your boarding pass, you must first check-in. The form in which you receive your boarding pass depends on the type of check-in. These include Check-in counters, online check-in, and check-in machines.
1. boarding pass at the airport check-in counter
Many airlines offer different options for check-in. The classic way is via the check-in counter at the airport. If you check in here, you will receive your boarding pass in paper form.
2. boarding pass at the airport check-in machine
The check-in machine offers a convenient way to board your flight quickly and easily. Without having to stand in a long queue at the counter, passengers can check in at the machine of the respective airline and then receive their boarding pass.
3. online check-in / mobile boarding pass
Online check-in is a good alternative to the usual check-in options at the airport. Depending on the airline and flight, online check-in is possible up to 24 to 48 hours before departure. After you have entered all the details, you will receive a mobile boarding pass within a few minutes, which you can save on your smartphone or print out.
When will you receive your boarding pass?
When do I get my boarding pass? You will receive it only after check-in. Normally, you will receive your boarding pass at the check-in counter after handing in your flight ticket. If you use online check-in, you can download your boarding pass up to 24 to 48 hours before departure, depending on the airline and flight. However, there may be different policies depending on the airline, so it’s best to check with the airline for their policies.
When will you receive your boarding pass for connecting flights?
Did you know that for non-stop flights you receive a boarding pass for the outbound and return flights? For flights with one or more stopovers, many people ask when and how they receive their boarding pass for the connecting flight. The answer is: at the first check-in!
Here is an example: If you fly from Berlin via London to New York, you will already receive the boarding pass for the connecting flight at Berlin Airport. This is particularly useful in cases with short connecting times. This way, you don’t waste time trying to find the gate again, because it’s already on the boarding pass!
Are the flight ticket and boarding pass the same?
Many passengers wonder: “Are an airline ticket and a boarding pass the same thing?” No, an airline ticket and a boarding pass are not the same thing. An airline ticket is proof of purchase of a flight or airfare, while a boarding pass is the passenger’s identification to board the aircraft. The airline ticket is a document that you buy in advance to reserve your seat on a particular flight. The boarding pass, on the other hand, is issued to you before you board the aircraft. It confirms your seat on the flight and gives specific information about your flight, such as the departure time, gate number, and boarding group. In summary, we can say that the air ticket confirms your reservation, while the boarding pass is your ticket to the plane.
Can I print my boarding pass at the airport?
Yes! You can have your boarding pass printed out at the airport. Unfortunately, there are some restrictions, but in most cases, you can print your boarding pass at a ticket counter or self-service station (check-in machine) at the airport. You can also ask at the check-in counter if you need help. The staff will print your boarding pass, and you can use it to go to the gate.
Print your boarding pass: Why you should print your boarding pass at home
Many air passengers nowadays travel with their mobile boarding pass, which is stored on their smartphone. But what if the digital version is not enough at the airport? Although smartphones now allow you to do almost everything, in some situations it can be tricky if your mobile boarding pass is rejected. An example of this is the airport in Marrakech, where you cannot get through security without a boarding pass signed and printed by the airline. Passengers travelling with hand luggage, who would therefore no longer need to go to the airline counter, are informed of this with signs shortly before check-in.
- No matter which airline you are travelling with, it is always advisable to carry a printed boarding pass.
- There is often an extra charge for printing out a boarding pass at the airport.
- The printed boarding pass, therefore, protects you from annoying extra costs and can help in the event of a flat mobile phone battery or app problems.
The boarding pass usually contains the following information:
If you are preparing for your next flight, you should be familiar with the following abbreviations and codes, as these will give you an overview of the following information:
- Name of Passenger (Name of Passenger)
- Airport of departure and destination (From-To)
- Airline (Carrier / Airline)
- Flight number
- Flight number (Gate)
- Class of carriage (Economy, Business or First Class)
- Booking class and seat number (Seat)
- Flight date (Date)
- Scheduled time of boarding
- Time of departure and arrival
- Number of pieces of luggage and weight
- E-ticket information (ETKT) and e-ticket number
- Frequent flyer information (FQTV, M/M or other)
- The designator (the two letters before the flight number, on the ticket, sometimes also called the airline code)
Understanding abbreviations on the boarding pass
- API Complete: This abbreviation stands for “Advanced Passenger Information Complete” and means that the passenger information you have provided is correct and is complete with the airline.
- AF374: The letters at the beginning stand for the airline you are flying in our case Air France (AF). This is followed by a combination of numbers that tells you the route from the airport of departure to the destination airport.
- ETKT: Since the change to the so-called e-ticket, you will find the abbreviation ETKT on many boarding cards. It indicates an e-ticket.
- C 10 A: Your boarding pass will certainly also contain this letter-digit combination, which is to be understood as follows: The letter “C” symbolizes the business class, and “10 A” in turn stands for the window seat in the tenth row.
- 1 25: Many boarding passes indicate how much baggage you are allowed to take with you. A “1” here stands for the number of pieces of luggage and “25” stands for the maximum weight of this luggage in kilograms.
- FRA – LHR: These abbreviations are assigned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Each boarding pass contains these two abbreviations in capital letters to indicate the departure and destination airports. In this case, the abbreviation “FRA” stands for Frankfurt Airport, and “LHR” for London Heathrow Airport.
- Jan 25 2023: This abbreviation simply indicates the date of the flight, – in this case 25 January 2023.
- FQTV: Some boarding passes have a special abbreviation: “FQTV” for Frequent Traveller. It indicates that the passenger is a frequent traveller.
- SSSS: If you see the abbreviation “SSSS” on your ticket, you will be subject to an additional security check. This abbreviation stands for “Secondary Security Screening Selection” and is usually given to passengers flying to the USA. The reasons for this additional screening can vary.
During boarding, the barcode or QR code, one of the most important parts of the boarding pass, is scanned by the airline staff.
Can you have your boarding pass on your mobile phone?
Mobile boarding pass:
Yes, it is possible to have your boarding pass stored on your mobile phone. Many airlines offer customers options to download digital versions of their boarding passes via the company’s official app or another mobile account. This works from about 72 hours before departure, depending on the airline. But some airlines also open virtual check-ins as early as 30 days before. These mobile versions can then be used at the check-in counter and the security check.
Attention: Not all airports accept mobile boarding pass
Find out about the place and airport you want to travel to, because it is not always possible to get through security with just a digital boarding pass on your smartphone. Marrakech Airport therefore even installed signs to inform passengers in advance that their mobile boarding passes are considered invalid here. Other airports also regard the unprinted documents as invalid and therefore do not let passengers through. However, some airlines offer alternative options on-site if required. For a small fee, they will print out the appropriate boarding pass for you on the spot or help you with the mobile version free of charge. With a little planning and precaution, however, you can save yourself these additional costs!
Flight delay or cancellation? Still at the airport?
Here’s what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled at the airport:
Step 1) Have the airline confirm the reason for the flight cancellation in writing.
Step 2) Collect receipts/receipts for expenses incurred during the waiting time.
Step 3) Insist on utilities in case of long waiting times
Step 4) Contact Flightright: have your flight checked and claim compensation/ticket reimbursement for the inconvenience
Boarding pass: what if your smartphone goes on strike?
In today’s digital age, many airports accept digital boarding passes. But this can sometimes lead to unexpected problems. If your battery suddenly dies, if the app stops working or if you can’t find your boarding pass in your mobile documents, you may have to go back to the gate and go through the check-in process all over again. This can be especially annoying when you consider that it is so easy to take a backup with you in the form of a printout! Therefore, it is always advisable to carry a printout with you – regardless of whether you paid digitally or in person. This way you can make sure everything goes smoothly and that your journey doesn’t get bogged down!
The boarding pass is gone, no internet connection, the battery is flat – how do you get on board now?
- Print out a second copy at the check-in counter or check-in machine at the airport, in case the loss is already noticed in the check-in area.
- Report to the flight staff at the gate if your boarding pass is missing, and you are already in the security area. Since your name is already on the passenger list, boarding is also possible manually in most cases.
- With a bit of luck, you will still find the boarding pass in your hand luggage in time.
Can you fly without a boarding pass?
Can you fly without a boarding pass? What happens if you lose your boarding pass on the way to the gate? Or if the paper, through some mishap, tears in or even through? According to Lufthansa and many other airlines, this is not a problem. You must have a valid ticket as well as a valid passport and should have checked in beforehand. Many airlines confirm that the contract of carriage is still valid and passengers are not removed from the list. Checking in on time and showing up at the boarding gate on time is crucial for the guest to be carried. Even at the gate, a passenger may need to show their ID card or passport again to confirm their identity.
If the boarding pass is lost behind the security check, it is best to contact the flight crew or the airline staff at the gate. They can also board a guest manually, as Lufthansa explains. This also applies to problems with the readability of the barcode.
Why you should keep your boarding pass after the flight
Why you should not throw away your boarding pass after the flight? Have you ever caught yourself simply throwing away your boarding pass after a flight? Or do you like to post a photo of your boarding pass on Facebook, Instagram or other social media? You’d better not do that! Because according to experts, carelessly disposing of or posting your boarding pass carries some risks.
A simple search for the hashtag #boardingpass on Instagram returns more than one hundred thousand results. Many of these photos show people holding visible first and last names on their boarding passes. But even if these names have been pixelated or retouched away, there are still some dangers.
The boarding pass and the QR or 2D bar code printed on it contain sensitive information about the passenger and their journey that could be exploited by data thieves. The codes on the boarding pass contain all flight-related data, such as booking code, passenger name, date, flight number, class of travel and more.
Therefore, it is important not to simply throw away or leave your boarding pass after the flight. Instead, you should carefully store or destroy your boarding pass to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.
Conclusion: boarding passes
Welcome aboard! You may still have questions about printing your boarding pass. If, for example, fellow passengers are also registered in the same booking, you can also download their boarding passes online, print them out and pass them on. If you should have a lounge invitation, this is usually noted on the printed card. This way, you can easily identify yourself at the entrance to the waiting area.
If you have problems printing it out, it is often because the equipment is not working properly or the printout is illegible. To solve this problem, it is advisable to switch off all devices once and try again later. If this does not help, you can collect your boarding pass at the airport from the self-check-in counter or check-in machine. So there is always a solution, even if it is a little more inconvenient or expensive. And stay carefree: at the self-check-in, your name will be checked against your travel documents during the security check and any fraud will be detected here.
If you lose your boarding pass, you have the option of revisiting the online check-in and printing it again. But be aware: depending on the airline, this option is no longer available 90 minutes before departure – after that, you will have to go to the counter to collect your boarding pass.
How can Flightright help you?
You are stuck at the airport because of a flight delay? Your flight has been canceled, or you have been removed from the passenger list? In each of the situations described, you have a right to compensation as an air passenger.
According to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation, overbooking, or missed connection. You can claim up to 600 euros of compensation per person (minus commission fee). This compensation is independent of the ticket price. Flightright enforces your right for you. If necessary also in court.
As experts on the subject of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline! Flightright’s air passenger rights experts are also happy to help you with ticket reimbursements