Passenger Portal

The Anatomy of a Flight

  • Planning
    Your Trip
  • Your Boarding
    Pass
  • Checking
    In
  • Airport
    Security
  • In The
    Terminal
  • Onboard
  • Taxi &
    Takeoff
  • Baggage Claim
    & Customs
Navigate the Experience

Planning your trip

Airlines provide safe, efficient and affordable air travel, connecting communities across the globe. Our members are working hard to enhance the passenger experience and make air travel better for everyone. Planning a trip is easier than ever and technology enables greater access to tools available by each carrier. With just a few steps, you can help ensure that your trip will be seamless and more enjoyable from start to finish.

Traveler Tips

International Travel

24 hour checklist
Passengers can take many steps in the 24 hours before departure to ensure they have a smooth travel experience.

Booking Your Flight

Children, Pets and special assistance

24 Hour Checklist

Passengers are eligible to check in online up to 24 hours prior to a trip. At that time, airlines offer available options to change seat assignments and select additional amenities. It is a great time to download your airline’s mobile application, if you have not already, and ensure all other aspects of your trip—such as baggage and special assistance, if needed—are in order.

Check In Online

  • To save time at the airport, download your boarding pass to your mobile device or print and bring it from home or your hotel. If you lose your boarding pass, it can be reprinted at a self-service kiosk or by an airline agent.

  • At check-in, passengers are able to select available alternate seating. Airlines offer many options for your comfort and convenience like more legroom or early boarding. Preferred seating can be selected on seat maps, and other upgrade services will offered if available. Premium economy seats may offer benefits beyond more legroom, such as priority boarding, greater seat recline and complimentary beverages.

  • Download your airline’s mobile application for access to a mobile boarding pass and updated available information on flight status, departure gate, terminal maps, baggage tracking, in-flight amenities, loyalty rewards balance and more.

  • Check weather in advance at your departure and arrival locations, and know how that may influence your flight.

Packing Smart

  • When packing, keep your airline’s baggage size and weight limits in mind. Consult your airline’s website for baggage policies on pricing, size and weight requirements for both checked and carry-on bags, special or restricted items and pets. Keep the TSA 3-1-1 rule in mind for carry-ons.

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  • Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline for baggage allowances, as they vary by carrier. Many airlines provide free checked bags for elite customers, the military and airline credit card holders.

  • Organize all your travel documents so that they are in one, easy-to-access place in your carry-on baggage. Include a business card or a luggage tag with your contact information both inside and on the outside of your bags.

  • Pack valuables and medications in your carry-on bag, along with chargers for your electronic devices.

At the Airport

  • Allow yourself ample time to get to the airport, especially if you need to check-in at the ticket counter or check a bag. Even if you have checked in at home and already have your boarding pass, allow adequate time to clear security before getting to your gate.

  • Checked baggage cut off and boarding times vary for domestic and international flights so check with your carrier and give yourself plenty of time to make it to your gate for your flight.

  • If the TSA Pre✓™ logo is on your boarding pass, head directly to the Pre✓™ lane in security for expedited screening.

  • Note the boarding time listed on your boarding pass, and plan to arrive at your departure gate at least 45 minutes prior to that time.

Traveler Tips

International Travel

Booking Your Flight

Children, Pets and special assistance

24 Hour Checklist

  • Apply for programs like Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Pre✓™ and Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry, which allow travelers to benefit from expedited security screening.

  • Ensure you have a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, and that it is valid through the dates of your trip. When traveling to an international destination, note that some countries require passports to be valid for at least six months upon entry.

  • Contact your airline in advance for policies on traveling with children, pets and those in need of special assistance.

  • If your starting point or destination is in proximity of more than one airport, check fares and schedules for each one and determine which best meets your needs.

U.S. airlines create a global network, connecting communities across the globe. It is important to be prepared for any trip, especially to an international destination, as each country has different entry requirements. Passengers are responsible for proper documentation, such as passports and visas, and are encouraged to consult current Department of State advisories and warnings prior to travel.

A passport is required for travel to and from any country or non-U.S. territory outside the United States. When planning an international trip, verify that your passport is valid and meets the requirements of the countries you will visit, even if you are just passing through. Some countries require that passports be valid for another six months beyond the date of entry.

Plan in advance of your trip to sign up for the CBP’s Global Entry, an expedited screening program that also gives members access to TSA’s Pre✓™. Global Entry members are also eligible for expedited customs screening when traveling to some countries, using programs such as SmartGate in Australia.

Airlines offer multiple options for booking your flight, including online and by phone with a customer service representative. Passengers are encouraged to book directly online with the airline to select options that will customize their travel experience with optional services such as priority boarding, access to lounges and advance purchase of additional amenities.

If you have not already enrolled in your airline's loyalty program, now is the time to do so. Fill out an online profile to indicate any special needs or preferences like window or aisle seating. You can also specify notification preferences, text or voicemail versus email, for flight information like gate changes or baggage claim. If you are a member of TSA’s Pre✓™ or CBP’s Global Entry, you should include your Known Traveler Number in the online profile to ensure expedited security screening.

Airlines want to create a safe and comfortable travel experience for each customer, including children, pets and those in need of special assistance.

Several helpful services and amenities are available for families traveling together and minors traveling without a parent or guardian. To keep your child comfortable throughout the trip, airlines recommend packing a carry on with snacks, entertainment like books or games, a change of clothes and something familiar like their favorite toy or blanket. For children traveling without a parent or guardian, many airlines offer unaccompanied minor programs — check with your airline, as policies vary.

Some pets are allowed to travel in the cabin and must remain in their carrying case the entire flight. Larger animals may travel using specific airline cargo pet travel programs. Because not all airlines accept pets for travel, owners should contact individual carriers for their pet transportation policy. Many airports provide "relief areas" to ensure your pet is comfortable during travel. Service animals have separate rules.

Airlines work extensively with the Department of Transportation (DOT), their employees, advocacy groups and airports to provide a safe, efficient and comfortable travel experience for passengers with disabilities. Passengers are encouraged to discuss any special accommodations, such as mobility assistance or allergies, with the airline as far in advance of traveling as possible. TSA also offers passenger support through security and recommends that passengers call the TSA Cares line 72 hours in advance of travel to discuss their needs.

Travel Tips

Your Boarding Pass

Airlines offer multiple options for passengers to obtain a boarding pass. Once you check in online, a boarding pass can be printed, or downloaded to your phone, either by email or through the airline’s mobile application. Upon arrival at the airport, passengers can also print their ticket from a self-service kiosk, or have it printed by a ticket agent.

Seat Assignment
Boarding Time and Group
TSA Pre✓™
Loyalty Program Number
In-flight Amenities
Bar Code
Travel Tips
seat assignment: Seats may be reserved at the time of booking and changes can be made when checking in for your flight. Some airlines do not assign seats, but rather boarding positions.
Boarding Time and Group: Some flights, particularly international, begin boarding an hour before the listed departure time. For most flights it is recommended that you arrive at the gate and ready to board at least 45 minutes prior to departure. Check with your carrier for information related to minimum processing time expected for your flight.
TSA Pre✓™: If this symbol appears, you are approved for expedited screening, so proceed directly to the TSA Pre✓™ lane at security.
Loyalty Program Number: If this number is shown on your boarding pass then you will receive miles for your flight. If not, you can add the number to your reservation using your airline’s website or mobile application.
In-flight Amenities: Look for icons indicating the services provided during your flight, such as Wi-Fi and meals for purchase.
Bar Code: A gate agent will scan the bar code when you board the flight. For those with mobile boarding passes, scan the bar code on mobile scanners in security and at the gate.

Checking In

Passengers are eligible for check-in online or through their mobile device 24 hours before departure to save time and bypass the ticket counter at the airport. Online check-in allows for selection of other amenities as well, such as available upgrades and access to the airport lounge or advance payment of services like onboard Wi-Fi and priority boarding.

Ticket Counter
Self-Service Kiosks
Checking Your Bag
Travel Tips
Ticket Counter: Ticket agents are available to assist with check-in, rebooking, baggage check, passengers traveling with infants or pets and customers with special travel needs.
Self-Service Kiosks: Airline kiosks provide passengers a quick way to check-in, change seats, select available upgrades, print boarding passes and check luggage.
Checking Your Bag: Airlines are constantly working to advance technology and develop innovative processes to improve your travel experience, including delivery, self-baggage tagging and home printed baggage tags. Consult your carrier for the most current information on baggage checking options. Members of loyalty programs and airline credit card holders often receive a discount or complimentary checked baggage, however, if there is a checked bags fee, it can be paid for during online check-in and taken immediately to a baggage drop area upon arrival at the airport. Additionally, passengers may check bags with an agent at the ticket counter, at a kiosk, or at the curb. Airlines provide information regarding baggage policies and packing recommendations on their websites. Before travel, know the size and weight restrictions for checked and carry-on bags, as well as restricted items. There may be a fee for checked bags, and in most cases, there is a fee for an overweight bag. Members of loyalty programs and airline credit card holders often receive a discount or complimentary checked baggage. If you have special items like golf clubs or skis, consult your carrier for guidelines and options for checking. For the safety of passengers and airline crew, some tools, sharp objects, sporting equipment and most weapons are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage. Review TSA’s list of prohibited items and pack accordingly.

Airport Security

Airlines and the TSA continue to make security screening improvements, ensuring that all passengers experience a safe and secure trip. Pre✓™ provides expedited screening for eligible individuals. Other security lanes accommodate families traveling together and passengers with disabilities.

What to Carry: 3-1-1
TSA Pre✓™
Elite Access
Special Screening
Travel Tips
What to Carry: 3-1-1 The TSA places restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels and prohibits some other items from entering the secure area of the airport to ensure passenger and flight crew safety. Each passenger is allowed a single, clear, one-quart bag with liquids in three-ounce or smaller containers.

Remember 3-1-1: 3-ounce bottle; 1 quart-sized, clear bag; for 1 bag per passenger.
TSA Pre✓™: This expedited screening lane is available for TSA Pre✓™ and CBP Global Entry members, members of the military, some airline customers and others as determined by TSA agents.

Passengers in this lane do not need to remove their shoes or laptops. For information on enrolling in Pre✓™, visit the TSA website. On the day of travel, if a Pre✓™ symbol is at the top of your boarding pass you can proceed right to the Pre✓™ lane.
Elite Access: At some airports, airlines provide a separate security lane for loyalty program members, airline credit card holders, flight crew and those who purchase or upgrade to a business or first class seat. To take advantage of this option, contact your carrier for more information.
Special Screening: TSA Cares provides assistance to travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, arranging for a Passenger Support Specialist upon request. Passengers are encouraged to contact the TSA 72 hours in advance of travel to make arrangements.

Family and medical lanes are provided at some airports for those who require liquids in excess of the 3-1-1 rule. Medications, baby formula and food are allowed in containers larger than three ounces. It is recommended that these items be labeled, and passengers must notify the security officer of possession at the beginning of the screening process.

In the Terminal

Airlines are working together with airports around the world to provide a comfortable and convenient customer experience and expand amenities while traveling. Airport maps with dining and shopping options can be found throughout the terminal, online or using an airline’s mobile application and some airports have their own mobile applications.

Before You Board
Special Assistance
Airport Lounges

Before You Board

Special Assistance

Airport Lounges

Airlines have invested millions of dollars to improve airport facilities and enhance the passenger experience. Gate screens display flight information, destination weather, and upgrade and stand-by request status. Some airlines offer self-service kiosks in gate areas to change your seat or flight. Charging stations and work areas can be found in many terminals and airports may provide complimentary Wi-Fi. Other modern additions in the terminal may include lounge-like seating, yoga rooms, spas, high-end shops and gourmet dining options.

From boarding to deplaning and making a connection, airline employees are available to provide assistance to those in need. Contact your airline in advance of travel and let them know of your requests at the airport as well. Escorts, wheelchairs and airline carts can be arranged for easier movement around the airport.

Airport club lounges may offer a relaxing atmosphere, complimentary food and beverage, personal travel assistance, business centers, and spa-like showers and rest areas. Loyalty program members and some airline credit card holders are given access, and travelers can often purchase an annual membership or a day pass.

Travel Tips

Onboard

Safety is the number one priority for our member airlines. They also work hard every day to accommodate each customer’s travel needs, investing in their product to improve service and passenger comfort.

In-flight Amenities
Flight Crew
Cargo

In-flight Amenities

Flight Crew

Cargo

Airlines are customizing the travel experience to meet the needs of each passenger, including seat options, meals, beverages, entertainment and Internet connectivity.

Passengers may select seating with additional legroom, lie-flat seats on certain aircraft and many other options for greater comfort. Meals and snacks inspired by gourmet chefs are available for purchase on many flights and are often selected to highlight regional cuisine, incorporating fresh and local foods, craft beers and fine wines. If you have a dietary restriction, contact your airline in advance of travel to determine whether special accommodations are available.

Travelers may have multiple in-flight entertainment options that include popular movies, live TV, music and more. Wi-Fi allows passengers to stay connected using their personal laptop, mobile device, personal tablet or in some cases, a handheld device provided by the airline. Many aircraft are equipped with power outlets for passenger use, and some aircraft have outlets and/or USB ports at every seat.

U.S. airlines maintain a superior standard of safety and our flight crews are among the best in the world. Pilots and flight attendants undergo extensive training to maintain an excellent record of safety and pleasant, on-time operations.

Cargo items include passenger luggage and many other valuable goods like perishable foods, live animals, air mail and industrial parts. Thanks to airline cargo operations, you can enjoy East Coast oysters on the West Coast and online shopping orders can arrive the next day.

Travel Tips

Taxi & Takeoff

Airlines work to ensure safe operations and on-time arrivals. While passengers go through the check-in process, security screening and board their flight, ground crews are working behind the scenes to provide you with an efficient and pleasant journey.

Air Traffic Control
New Airport Technology
Ground Operations
Travel Tips
Air Traffic Control: Operated by the FAA, the current air traffic control system uses ground-based technology to provide safe navigation for all aircraft traveling through U.S. airspace. The FAA is in the process of modernizing the system and airlines have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars to evolve to NextGen, a 21st century satellite-based system that would further enhance safety, reduce carbon emissions and improve customer satisfaction by reducing delays and cancellations.
New Airport Technology: Improvements in airport infrastructure result in increased safety and efficiency, such as advanced runway technology, lighting and surface detection equipment. Other improvements include new taxiways, bridges and ramp expansion. Airlines have also invested in the digitization of pilot in-flight manuals to allow quick access to flight, systems and performance information.
Ground Operations: Thousands of employees work daily to provide mechanical support, conduct safety inspections, de-ice planes, fuel planes, deliver catering, direct aircraft on the tarmac and quickly move bags and other cargo items through the airport network.

Baggage Claim & Customs

Upon arrival, travelers collect checked bags—and if traveling internationally, go through customs.

Boards and Carousels
Customs Processing
Global Entry and NEXUS
Travel Tips
Boards and Carousels: Airline employees and airport signage indicate your flight’s designated baggage claim carousel. This information may also be available through your airline’s mobile application.

Sophisticated, high-tech baggage handling systems enables the airline to track your bag from departure to arrival. You may even be able to track the bag yourself through your airline’s website or mobile application. If you requested baggage delivery, it will arrive at the destination of your choice - hotel, home or other location – within the allotted timeframe offered by your airline.

If you have any concerns regarding your checked baggage, airline employees in offices near the carousels are available to assist you.
Customs Processing: All U.S. citizens and international visitors are required to pass through customs inspection upon arrival. Required paperwork is usually handed out in-flight for completion prior to landing. It is the responsibility of each passenger to provide proper documentation, make declarations and meet all entry requirements. Some airlines have invested in self-service kiosks at U.S. points of entry to reduce customs wait times.
Global Entry and NEXUS: Upon re-entry to the U.S., members of Global Entry and NEXUS scan their passport and fingertips at a kiosk, make customs declarations and answer a few on-screen questions to receive a receipt. Once processed, travelers are directed to baggage claim and the airport exit.

Passenger Portal

The Anatomy of a Flight

Planning
your trip
your boarding
pass
checking
in
airport
security
In the
terminal
Onboard
Taxi &
Takeoff
baggage claim
& customs

back

Airlines provide safe, efficient and affordable air travel, connecting communities across the globe. Our members are working hard to enhance the passenger experience and make air travel better for everyone. Planning a trip is easier than ever and technology enables greater access to tools available by each carrier. With just a few steps, you can help ensure that your trip will be seamless and more enjoyable from start to finish.

Travel Tips

Sign up with your airline to receive email notifications of fare sales.

Enroll in your airline’s free loyalty program to earn and redeem miles for your trip.

Follow airlines on social media for travel tips, sales and other helpful information.

back

Airlines offer multiple options for passengers to obtain a boarding pass. Once you check in online, a boarding pass can be printed, or downloaded to your phone, either by email or through the airline’s mobile application. Upon arrival at the airport, passengers can also print their ticket from a self-service kiosk, or have it printed by a ticket agent.

Travel Tips

Those traveling with children should place strollers and car seats on the scanner belt. Babies can be carried through a walk-through metal detector by a parent or guardian.

To expedite the check in process, some carriers are allowing passengers to print luggage tags at home or at the airport using specially designated kiosks.

If you did not enter your loyalty rewards or Known Traveler numbers at the time of booking, do so during online check-in. This is also another opportunity to sign up for travel information and notifications sent by text, email or voicemail.

back

Passengers are eligible for check-in online or through their mobile device 24 hours before departure to save time and bypass the ticket counter at the airport. Online check-in allows for selection of other amenities as well, such as available upgrades and access to the airport lounge or advance payment of services like onboard Wi-Fi and priority boarding.

Travel Tips

Save your airline’s customer service number in your phone, in case you need to contact a representative for assistance.

Have your confirmation number or record locator available to access your ticket quickly at a kiosk, or insert your credit card or passport.

Curbside check-in is often a quick option to check your bag before entering the airport.

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Airlines and the TSA continue to make security screening improvements, ensuring that all passengers experience a safe and secure trip. Pre✓™ provides expedited screening for eligible individuals. Other security lanes accommodate families traveling together and passengers with disabilities.

Travel Tips

Pack and organize your belongings with security restrictions in mind, placing liquids in a clear one-quart bag in three-ounce or smaller containers.

Any gifts should not be wrapped as they may be opened by TSA officers during the screening process.

Children under the age of 12 and adults over the age of 75 may leave on shoes and light jackets when passing through security.

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Airlines are working together with airports around the world to provide a comfortable and convenient customer experience and expand amenities while traveling. Airport maps with dining and shopping options can be found throughout the terminal; online or using an airline’s mobile application and some airports have their own mobile applications.

Travel Tips

Those traveling with children should place strollers and car seats on the scanner belt. Babies can be carried through a walk-through metal detector by a parent or guardian.

To expedite the check in process, some carriers are allowing passengers to print luggage tags at home or at the airport using specially designated kiosks.

If you did not enter your loyalty rewards or Known Traveler numbers at the time of booking, do so during online check-in. This is also another opportunity to sign up for travel information and notifications sent by text, email or voicemail.

back

Safety is the number one priority for our member airlines. They also work hard every day to accommodate each customer’s travel needs, investing in their product to improve service and passenger comfort.

Travel Tips

Policies on the use of portable electronics have recently changed. Be sure to check with your carrier to know which devices can be used and when.

Dress in layers to ensure comfort onboard, as cabin temperatures vary.

Some airlines offer amenity kits for purchase items for a comfortable flight such as eye masks, pillows, blankets and slippers.

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Airlines work to ensure safe operations and on-time arrivals. While passengers go through the check-in process, security screening and board their flight, ground crews are working behind the scenes to provide you with an efficient and pleasant journey.

Travel Tips

FAA requires all passengers be seated with their seatbelts fastened during taxi and takeoff. Flight attendants will let you know when it is safe to move about the cabin.

All personal electronic devices must be in "Airplane Mode" through the duration of the flight. Laptops must be stowed during taxi and takeoff, but can be used during flight.

Passengers are encouraged to pay attention to flight attendants during important safety demonstrations prior to take off. While they may be familiar, safety procedures are always being updated to ensure flying remains the safest form of transportation.

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Upon arrival, travelers collect checked bags—and if traveling internationally, go through customs.

Travel Tips

Many bags look alike. Mark your checked suitcase with a bright luggage tag or other identifying feature.

If you travel out of the country frequently, the CBP Global Entry program can save time in customs.

Special items like golf clubs or skis are usually not placed on the carousel—look instead along the baggage claim area wall.