How can I check in when travelling with China Southern Airlines?
Getting your boarding pass and your flight confirmation are part of the check-in procedure, which can be done mainly at China Southern Airlines’ airport check-in counters. Alternatively, you can complete this procedure yourself by three other means of checking-in, which offer personalized service and spare you the time spent waiting in lines at the airport:
- Online/Mobile/WeChat Check-in.
- Kiosk Check-in
- SMS Check-in.
When must I check in when travelling with China Southern Airlines?
Depending on the chosen method for checking-in, you will have different time rules concerning when the service will be available. However, should you opt for the traditional airport counter check-in, you must consult the airline and airports’ schedules, as they may differ:
- From 30 to 45 minutes before departure for domestic flights.
- From 45 to 60 minutes before departure for international flights.
For more specific information regarding counters closing-up times at various domestic airports throughout China, consult the timetable provided by China Southern Airlines – Check-in Times for Domestic Airports.
For avoiding queuing and spending unnecessary time at airport counters, you can choose a more convenient self-check-in option: the Online Check-in service. By accessing China Southern Airlines’ official website, you can perform the Online Check-in procedure by selecting the “Online check-in” menu. There are nine possible steps which you might want to go through during your web formalities, detailed information and directions regarding them being available as Procedure of Online Check-in.
The most important travel documents (which you will need both when going through the web check-in formalities, and also at the airport) are your valid passport or ID card and your visa. You must have these documents upon yourself at all times, so you are strongly advised not to pack them in your checked baggage.
In order to successfully complete the Online Check-in, you must possess a valid adult E-ticket, since paper tickets are not eligible. The same identity information used for booking the flight must be entered during the web check-in process.
This service is available for adult passengers possessing valid E-tickets, whose flights are pre-determined and not rescheduled. The Online Check-in service is available for both domestic and international flights, but within some restrictions, only certain cities currently offering this option.
Online Check-in is available for domestic flights from most domestic cities, from 14 pm the day before flight departure usually up to 60 minutes before flight departure.
Online Check-in is also available for international flights originating from some international cities, such as Los Angeles, London, Kuala Lumpur, etc., the day before flight departure (11:15 am – New York, 23 pm – Los Angeles) usually up to 60 minutes before flight departure (40 minutes – Seoul Gimpo, 80 minutes – Seoul Incheon, 90 minutes – Ashgabat, Baku, Los Angeles, Tbilisi, 120 minutes – Frankfurt, Delhi, 150 minutes – Almaty, Nursultan (Astana), 180 minutes – Adelaide, Brisbane, Colombo, New York).
The following categories of passengers are advised to check in at the airport counters, as the Online Check-in will be unavailable for them:
- Children – whether accompanied or not, infants, pregnant women and unaccompanied elderly.
- Adults travelling with children can not complete the online procedures for their children, and must check them in at the airport counters.
- Passengers with special status (including VIP), or those who have to provide special certificates or other credentials for taking the flight.
- Injured or ill passengers, or travelers with special needs (wheelchair or stretcher-bound), passengers who require special assistance (blind or deaf), travelers with special food requirements.
- Disabled revolutionary servicemen, soldiers or policemen.
- Travelers contracting a disease, mentally disordered patients, prisoners.
- Passengers with offsite check-in, transit (mixed domestic – international flights, connecting flights) / endorsed / open tickets.
- Teachers and students travelling with discounted tickets.
The Online Check-in does not allow you to upgrade your ticket class. Instead, you should contact the sales office or the airport of departure if you desire a class upgrade.
Checking in online does not mean that you can’t bring along your luggage. You can opt for this check-in method even if you have luggage that needs to be checked, but you’ll have to arrive at the airport counters in time, in order to undergo all the baggage related procedures.
This type of check-in also allows you to select the desired seat on the plane, and even change your mind and re-select it afterwards. In this case, your boarding pass should also be reprinted – with the updates seating information. You can handle the web check-in procedure no more than three times for the same flight.
Even if you do not have the means to print your boarding pass at the time of the Online Check-in completion, you can very well print it at any airport or duty counter, by simply presenting the valid ID or passport used during the check-in process. You can print your pass multiple times if you wish, but remember that only one copy is valid.
Should you happen to lose your boarding pass, do not worry, since you can have it reprinted by presenting a valid piece of identification at the airport counter. However, if you decide to change your reservation after the cancellation of the Online Check-in, you need to directly contact your travel agent, the ticket agent or the ticketing offices. Alternatively, you can call China Southern Airlines through the service hotline.
Regardless of where you bought the ticket from, you can go through the Online Check-in procedures with all E-tickets, no matter if you have purchased them from an authorized agent or an official intermediary. The Online Check-in procedure can be performed in Chinese and English.
The web platform allows you to even check in individually – if you’re in a group, check in if you possess a round-trip ticket, or even undergo the checking-in for a fellow traveler or a group of companions, although in this last situation the boarding passes will be issued separately.
In order to cancel your check-in, access the web platform, choose your flight then simply cancel it. You have the re-checking-in option available, even if you’ve cancelled the previous one. This does not mean, however, that your ticket reservation has also been cancelled. In order to do so, you are supposed to cancel the check-in first, and then the reserved ticket.
Boarding Pass – Domestic Flights
At the end of the Online Check-in procedures, your boarding pass will be issued. You can print it yourself, on an ordinary A4 paper, in a resolution no less than 300 dpi. Your self-printed boarding pass replaces the traditional one, but is equally important and includes relevant information, such as: your name, certificate number, your seat number, flight date and number, member card number etc.
Your boarding pass must be printed in black and white and on a single page, and you’re supposed to bring it along at the airport for the security checks and boarding procedure. If you don’t have a boarding gate assigned on your pass, don’t worry, as this piece of information will most certainly be revealed at the airport, on the display screens or by consulting the staff.
You can also choose to use the e-Boarding Pass function via mobile phone. If, at the end of Online Check-in, you choose Send e-Boarding Pass, enter your mobile phone number and select mobile phone type, a two-dimensional e-Boarding Pass will be sent to your mobile phone. At present, e-Boarding Pass service is available only for domestic flights from Guangzhou (except for flights to Lhasa and Urumqi), Beijing, Shenyang, and Wuhan.
However, only passengers who depart from Guangzhou and Wuhan can use their Mobile Boarding Pass to go through the security check directly to the boarding gate. Passengers who depart from Beijing and Shenyang should get their paper boarding pass at the airport counter and then go through the security check.
Boarding Pass – International Flights
For international flights, you may receive a boarding voucher at the end of Online Check-in, instead of a boarding pass. In this case, you have to exchange your voucher for the boarding pass at the check-in counter at least 90 minutes before departure (not including flights departing for Hong Kong).
For international and regional flights from Guangzhou, you must get your boarding pass at the P4 counter at least 60 minutes before departure. Then you can pass through security and get on board.
Keep in mind that you should be present at the boarding gate at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled flight departure, otherwise you will lose both your reserved seat and the flight. Your initial check-in will be unavailable for cancellation beginning 1 hour before flight take off, or if you managed to already check your baggage.
The second form of self-check-in offered by China Southern Airlines is Kiosk Check-in, where you can access all the important flight data, choose the desired seat on the plane, validate personal and travel information, and print boarding passes, all this by following the screen prompts.
You can start the check-in procedure at a self-service kiosk by identifying your booking information, which can be done in three different ways:
- You can place your second generation ID card at the clock in / out for scanning and identification.
- You can directly type your personal information, such as ID card number, ticket number or Sky Pearl number on the touch screen.
- By placing under the scanner your mobile phone’s 2D code.
All E-tickets are kiosk-compatible, regardless of the travel agencies from where they were purchased. Kiosks will never ask for your credit card information, as they are completely free of charge.
There might be special circumstances when you will need to present your personal travel documentation at an airport counter first, in order for a staff member to additionally validate your information, since inconsistencies may occur sometimes, and the kiosk might not recognize your personal data.
Kiosks can be used for self-service check-in by passengers with valid E-tickets for domestic and international CZ flights:
- Domestic flights from 31 domestic airports (e.g., Beijing (PEK), Dalian (DLC), Guangzhou (CAN), Shanghai Pudong (PVG), Wuhan (WUH), Zhengzhou (CGO), etc.).
- International flights from: London (LHR), Seoul (ICN) – from 4 hours up to 80 minutes before departure, Tokyo Narita (NRT), Vancouver (YVR) – from 14 pm the day before departure up to 60 minutes before departure.
For domestic flights, in order to complete the procedures in time, try to be at the airport whether 30 minutes before flight take-off, or 45 minutes prior to scheduled departure, depending on each airport policy. Basically, the kiosks are opened for check-in in accordance with the airport’s counters. For more details regarding Kiosk Check-in, access the related information on China Southern Airlines’ official website. Kiosk Check-in service is available for all E-ticket buyers in both English and Chinese.
Kiosk availability is limited to E-tickets, paper tickets being ineligible. Paper tickets holders are invited to check in at the airport counters. Another restriction referring to Kiosk Check-in in that you cannot upgrade your travel class or change your seat on a particular flight. Once more, in order to do this you must address the staff at the counters.
Furthermore, you cannot buy tickets directly at the kiosk, nor check in your baggage. Neither can one use the kiosk if they belong in one of the special categories of passengers above-mentioned when referring to Online Check-in restrictions.
Another method of self-service check-in is SMS Check-in, which uses short messages as a means of communication to complete your check-in procedures with China Southern Airlines. Their nationwide unique hotline number (95539) can be used only by adult passengers with direct domestic and non-codeshare flights.
By sending “?” or the letters “ZJ” to the hotline number aforementioned, you’ll be prompted with all the further steps you will need to follow in order to successfully complete the procedure. When arriving at the airport, present your valid identification documents at the counters to collect your boarding pass. Another way for you to acquire your boarding pass after performing the SMS check-in is by going to any self-service kiosk and scan your two-dimension code (which was sent to your mobile phone after successful completion of the procedure).
Generally, you can check-in by SMS from 2 p.m. on the day prior to departure up to 60 minutes before take-off. In Changchun and Wuhan, you can begin the SMS check-in procedure two days prior to flight departure, thou at the same hour.
Checking-in by SMS is possible in certain domestic airports.
Upon arrival at the airport, you should make sure that the boarding gate mentioned on your pass is still the same, as sometimes changes might occur. This piece of information can be obtained either from the Display Monitors throughout the airport, or from the counters. Be advised that, if your flight has multiple connecting segments, you will receive a boarding pass for each one of them, upon check-in.
The boarding process starts after the airport counters open for China Southern flights. Domestic and international boarding undergo mainly the same steps:
- Try and arrive at the airport at least 120 minutes in advance, so you would allow yourself plenty of time to undergo the boarding procedures. These procedures usually stop 45 to 60 minutes prior to scheduled departure, depending on the airport.
- Regardless of the check-in method chosen and eventually completed in advance, you need to check your baggage at the counters and acquire your boarding pass.
- The third step is the security inspection. At the security checking counter, your ID, boarding pass and carry-on baggage will be verified, and you must pass the security check gate.
- While waiting for boarding, watch carefully the display screens in order to find out or re-check the boarding gate to which you have been assigned.
- Upon hearing the boarding notice, go to the boarding gate and let the designated staff check your boarding pass, before effectively boarding the plane.
- Once you’ll be in the plane, find your seat, buckle up your safety belt and turn off your mobile phone before flight take-off.
When boarding for an international flight, the boarding procedure remains mostly the same, with a slight difference regarding the third step: instead of a regular security inspection, you must go through several exit formalities of joint inspections, precisely frontier – customs – quarantine inspections.