The key to flying international is to be prepared. The better you plan before you go the easier that check-in will be.
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Prior to going to the airport.
Double check that you have everything packed especially your ticket and other travel documents. Call your airline to reconfirm your flight the day before you go. Check the weather at departing and arriving airports to see if there are any problems.
Arrange your transportation to the airport to get you there three hours before departure. Make sure that you have planned something to do to kill time. This could be having a meal or surfing the Internet on your laptop.
At the airport.
Find your airline and head for the check-in counter. If you have a first class ticket or a business class ticket, get in the shorter line.
Make sure that you have your ticket and your passport readily available. You will be required to have these to get your boarding pass.
Depending on the airport, they may screen your checked luggage before you get to check-in. Some airports do this after you get your boarding pass.
If you have not already made your seat selection, this is the time to do it. Check and see if an exit row seat is available especially if you have a long flight. You can also try to arrange for your seat on any additional legs of your flight. You may have to wait until you get to your connecting airport to do this.
If you have a frequent flier card, this is a good time to make sure that you will be credited for the flight. Have the check-in agent verify that your card is recorded.
Before you leave the area, make sure you have all of your belongings and your boarding pass or passes for any ongoing legs. Reconfirm your take-off time and your departure gate number.
Depending on how long it took you to check in, you should have some time to kill. You will still have to get through security which can take a few minutes or up to a ? hour.
You can spend time at the airport shops, do some duty free shopping, or get a bite to eat. Most airports have wireless access so you can surf the net and check email before you go.
If you don?t have anything to read on your long flight, you may want to pick up a magazine or paperback. I also recommend having some sort of snack to bring on the plane just in case the airline meal isn?t up to par.
Checking in for your international flight doesn?t have to be painful if your prepare properly.