Checking in: What to look out for
Check-in times vary from airline to airline, so it is advisable to check in well in advance of your departure date. Once you know about how much time to leave before check in, you will need to factor in how much time you need get through security and reach the departure gate with plenty of time to board your flight.
Many airlines provide information on their website about when to be present at the airport for check in. This information is usually easy to find, but a number of the larger global airlines do not publish check in times as they vary from country to country. In these situations, you may need to call the airline you are flying with, check your booking confirmation or check with your travel agent.
Unfortunately, not all airlines make this information easy to find and you may need to dig around on the website to find out your check in deadline time. This information may be in the terms and conditions, conditions of carriage or perhaps in the FAQ’s section of the airline’s website.
Many airlines offer the option of being able to check in online (and some only allow on-line check-in). If you check in online, you will either have to print out your boarding pass or, in some cases, you will have it on your mobile phone. This can help save you time, but it is important to keep the print out safe as you may be charged for another copy. Be aware also that some airlines require boarding passes that you print at home to be in a specific format (e.g. A4 single sided).
Once you reach the airport, you can then deposit any luggage (if you are taking any) at a designated desk.
Check-in at the airport
Depending on the airline you’re flying with, it can be cheaper to check-in online, although you should be aware that some airlines charge you to check in online. Not only is it sometimes cheaper, but you can also save yourself the hassle of standing in line at the airport to check in. If you choose to check in on-line, the time you need to arrive at the airport may vary again depending on whether you have baggage or not.
Be aware that some airlines require all passengers to check-in online and will charge you at the airport if they have to print out your boarding card. In some cases this charge can be over one hundred pounds.
The TCI Airport Authority is responsible for the security of Turks and Caicos Islands airports. Their policies are implemented at each airport by the airport security staff. Airlines and travel companies do not set these rules.
Before flying, you will go through the airport security area. These measures are in place to help maintain your safety, so familiarisation with the rules will help you pass through the security checks as quickly as possible. Restrictions on what you can take on board vary from time to time, so we recommend you read the latest security advice before every flight from the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Please remember that security procedures can also vary from airport to airport. More information can be found on the web site of the airport you are flying from, and usually from that of your airline or travel company.
- Check the airline’s website in advance of your travel to find out when you need to be at the airport – if you are late and miss your flight you may need to pay for another flight to take you to your destination.
- If you booked through an agent, they should be able to help you with your questions.
- Are you flying to a European destination or to Asia? Depending on your destination your check in time may vary.
- Are you travelling with hand luggage only? If you are, you may be able to check in online for free and print off your boarding pass, so all you need to do when you arrive at the airport is go straight through security.
- Do you need to check in online? It may be a requirement of the airline that you check in online and print off your boarding pass, otherwise you might be charged for doing this at the airport.
- Are you travelling in a group? If so you might consider giving yourself more time to check in.
- If you’re travelling with a wheelchair or require special assistance, you are required to check in earlier. You will also need to notify your airline or travel agent that you need assistance at least 48 hours before departure.
There are restrictions on what items you can take onto aircraft for reasons of safety, security and taxes. Some items are not allowed in your hand luggage and some are not allowed anywhere on the aircraft. Some items need to have the approval of the airline before you can take them on board.
Individual airports have discretion to confiscate anything they consider dangerous, regardless of whether or not it appears on the list of prohibited articles and passengers who have queries over whether something will be permitted should check with the airport and airline in question before travelling.
Medical equipment and medication
Essential medicines are allowed in your hand luggage. If the medicine is a liquid, and the amount of liquid is more than 100ml, you will need to get permission from the airline and airport, as well as a letter from your doctor.
You will need permission from the airline to take certain medical equipment on board for example oxygen or insulin pumps. Some airlines will not allow you to take your own oxygen bottles on board but will provide this on request – there may be some charge for this.
If you are likely to exceed your hand luggage allowance by carrying medication or medical equipment, you should let your airline know in advance. You may need to provide a doctor's letter to support this.
Rules on liquids in hand baggage
There are strict restrictions on liquids in hand baggage for security reasons. If you need to take liquids away with you, aim to pack as much as possible in your hold baggage. Liquids in this sense include lipsticks, mascara, toothpaste, hairspray and shaving foam.
Empty water bottles
The Department for Transport does not prohibit the carriage of empty water bottles through security in hand luggage.
Items banned in the aircraft cabin
Certain sharp knives, ammunition, guns and certain scissors are banned from being taken into the cabin of the plane, whether in hand luggage or on your person.
The Civil Aviation Authority has published a list of what is allowed and banned in the cabin.
Items banned anywhere on the plane for safety reasons
Fireworks, gas canisters and cans of petrol are examples of items that are banned from planes.
Powered wheelchairs and mobility aids
If you have a battery-powered wheelchair or mobility aid which you wish to take on the aircraft, you need to contact your airline to let them know. This is because battery-powered devices can be a fire risk on board aircraft, and the airline will need to disable the battery before the flight takes off.
Packing for your return
While you are away, think about what you will be allowed to bring back on your return flight, and be careful not to buy items that are not allowed on the plane or to be imported into the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Resolving travel problems
If you have had a problem with taking an item on board an aircraft which you believe you should have been allowed to take (and you have spoken to the airline, and have not been able to reach an agreement) you can contact the CAA.