40 minute check-in minimum for airline

Alaska Airlines has increased its minimum check-in time for fliers on most domestic flights from 30 to 40 minutes before departure in an effort to create uniformity in its check-in protocols.

The minimum check-in time remains an hour for international flights. The times are in force whether a bag is checked or not, the airline said.

The exceptions will be at airports where the check-in cutoff is already 45 minutes. These airports include Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas, Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia. Passengers traveling from Guadalajara, Mexico, have a 90-minute check-in cutoff time.

“Our previous policy sent a mixed message by having different cutoff times, depending on the airport and whether a customer is checking bags,” said Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines vice president of customer service, airports and cargo. “The new policy will make check-in times the same for everyone, making it easier for passengers to remember the cutoff, regardless of how they are checking in and whether they’re checking a bag. A consistent cutoff time should make things easier for customers and employees alike.”

The new cutoff time took effect Wednesday. Passengers who miss the cutoff will be offered a $25 same-day confirmed seat on the next available flight, depending on availability.

Alaska Airlines’ long-standing boarding policy remains the same; passengers must be available to board at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time for all flights.

As with the previous cutoff time, the 40-minute requirement does not ensure travelers will make it to their departure gate in time for boarding, the airline said. Busy security lines and heavy passenger traffic may require additional time. The Transportation Security Administration recommends that passengers allow at least one hour for domestic flights and two hours or more for international flights.

Alaska Airlines’ customers can check in using the carrier’s app for iPhone or Android, on the Web or at an airport kiosk.