How can I check in when travelling with Air China?
Air China offers its passengers three methods of checking-in:
- Counter Check-in.
- Kiosk Check-in.
- Online Check-in
When must I check in when travelling with Air China?
Every airport has its own check-in deadlines which, if not respected, may lead to cancelling your reservation. If this is your first time travelling with Air China, they or their Authorized Agents will inform you about the deadline of your airport of choice. Should you have one or more transit flights, you should inform yourself about the check-in deadlines in effect in those airports, this piece of information being available by contacting their Authorized Agents.
Whether your flight is international or domestic, you should know that all Air China flights originating in Beijing operate out of Terminal 3. If you are travelling on a domestic flight, the check-in counters will cease to operate 45 minutes prior to departure. If, however, you are on an international or regional one, check-in counters will close 60 minutes before flight departure.
Check-in closing times vary depending on the type of flight (whether it is international or domestic), but also on the airport of departure:
- Airports throughout China¹:
- 30-45 minutes before departure for domestic flights.
- 30-60 minutes before departure for international flights.
- International and regional airports² – 40-60 minutes before departure for international flights.
International flights require several documents, such as visas, a valid passport and also the travelling documents which you used for purchasing the ticket. You should have these documents on yourself at all times, so make sure they are not packed in the checked baggage, but on the carry-on luggage.
Passengers opting for Online Check-in can choose their plane seats and print their boarding passes. The Web Check-in service is available for adult passengers, provided they did not make any changes to the flight itinerary and that they possess an electronic ticket bought for an Air China flight. This option is also available for travelers who bought their e-ticket from a travel agency or an authorized agent. Adult passengers can complete Online Check-in for themselves and up to two children on the same itinerary and in the same booking class.
The Web Check-in process in very simple, requiring as documentation one the following: a passport, a booking reference or the ticket number.
Be aware of the fact that performing the check-in procedure from the official website allows you to check in for both domestic and international flights operated by Air China and codeshare flights with Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, and Tibet Airlines. Family Online Check-in is only available for flights operated by Air China
For domestic flights, Web Check-in is available from 8 pm two days before flight departure up to 1 hour before flight departure (with a few exceptions: Aba (Hongyuan), Dazhou, Daocheng (Yading), Linzhi – from 3 pm one day before flight departure; Jiansanjiang – from 8 am one day before flight departure).
For international flights, Web Check-in is available from 36 hours up to 2 hours before flight departure with a few exceptions:
- From 23 hours before flight departure for flights to the US.
- From 24 hours before flight departure for flights from the US and Panama.
- Up to 1 hour before flight departure from Athens, Chiang Mai, Fukuoka, Newark, Stockholm.
- Up to 3 hours before flight departure from Bangkok, Brisbane, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Nagoya, Osaka, San Francisco, San Jose, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Taipei (Taoyuan & Songshan), Tokyo (Narita & Haneda), Ulan Bator, Vienna, Warsaw.
- Up to 4 hours before flight departure from Dusseldorf, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Seoul Gimpo.
At the end of Online Check-in, you have the following options to obtain your boarding pass:
- Save as a PDF document.
- Print on A4 paper.
- Receive an SMS with a link to the QR code boarding pass.
- Receive an email.
- Add to Passbook.
After performing the Online Check-in for international flights, you can present your baggage and collect your official boarding pass with your valid ID at the airport counter. You should do so before the check-in deadline of your flight, provided that your baggage follows Air China’s conditions regarding luggage. Any eventual changes to your checked baggage can be done only after contacting the duty manager counter as soon as possible.
Mobile Boarding Pass
For domestic flights, most Chinese cities support mobile boarding passes at security checkpoints.
Mobile boarding passes are supported at the following international airports: Copenhagen, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Osaka, Paris, Tokyo Narita, Zurich, Warsaw (please arrive at your boarding gate at least 45 minutes before flight departure to ensure all documents are valid for travel).
Online check-in is available for you even if you have baggage to check. Any Web Service Desk at the airport may be used for checking your luggage, after you managed to complete the check-in procedure on the official website.
Should you fail to print your own boarding pass due to internet browser, network or printer problems, do not worry, as your check-in status will remain on, and the airport’s staff will help you print your pass at the counters. Furthermore, if you lose your boarding pass, in order to re-print it at the airport counters you must provide a valid ID.
Be advised that, if you choose to complete the online check-in sequence too early, the boarding gate might not appear on your boarding pass. This is normal, and in order to find out from what gate your plane is departing, you are supposed to check the display screens throughout the airport, or simply consult the staff and ask them for more information.
Checking-in online also grants you the option of cancelling your flight. You can do this whether by calling Air China’s hotline service, or online, but only within the processing hours listed above.
First of all, passengers with VIP status, those with disabilities, injured or ill are considered special travelers and therefore can’t perform the online check-in. Hence, they should opt for the counter check-in, directly at the airport.
Secondly, domestic connecting flights and international – to – domestic connecting flights require a boarding pass for every segment of the journey. However, there is a restriction concerning domestic flight segments within international flights: a web check-in cannot be done for these segments.
Thirdly, although group bookings are permitted in the Online Check-in procedure (provided that every traveler manages their own boarding pass), a number of three passengers at most can be booked at once using the booking record number interface. If you find yourself travelling with a larger group, you must check in at the airport counters.
Air China’s Self-Service Check-in is an easy, 7-step process which can be completed both for domestic¹ and international² flights – but only in certain cities. This type of check-in comes with an user-friendly interface, which is simple and accessible:
- First, you can choose your language (English or Chinese).
- Afterwards, you can select whether you want to perform the check-in procedure, or print a boarding pass assigned during a previous online check-in.
- Next, you are supposed to choose either the piece of ID that you used at the time of purchase (passport or ID card / military ID), or the electronic ticket number.
- Choosing your flight or flight segment represents the fourth step of the process.
- Then, you can review your flight information, to make sure that everything is in order.
- The sixth step consists in selecting the seat you consider appropriate for yourself. The interface is an interactive one, allowing you to virtually navigate through an aircraft’s map, visualizing every seating segment of the airplane, so you can find the seat that suits you better.
- The process ends with the boarding pass’ printing and some timing information regarding gate closing and local weather updates.
Besides offering you the possibility of completing the check-in procedure, kiosks may also be used for reprinting your boarding pass. However, this option is available only in certain cities throughout the world.³
If you performed the check-in procedure at a kiosk, and afterwards you wish to change your flight, you can do so by contacting Air China’s staff. They will operate these changes within availability limits, and also according to the e-ticket record and flight record shown in the departure and booking system.
Before proceeding with the Self-Service Check-in, be aware that the kiosk will not be able to process more than two consecutive flight segments or issue boarding passes consequently.
Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport is the one that Air China will use for all its flights. Therefore, all Air China’s passengers are expected to check in or out at the aforementioned terminal. All boarding gates, regardless of the flight, close 15 minutes prior to scheduled flight departure. Consequently, passengers connecting between Terminal 3 and Terminals 1 and 2 should allow themselves a sufficient amount of time (2 or three hours, depending on their flight) in order to make sure that their transit will go smoothly.
Air China assumes the right to cancel or reassign your reserved space on the flight if you fail to meet the boarding gate time limit.