Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Read Your Boarding Pass

This is a quick how-to for people who have trouble reading their boarding pass and understanding what everything on it means.

Here I have the picture of an Air Canada paper boarding pass.  Most paper boarding passes will look similar as they need to convey the same information.

The top left corner has your name. Always check to make sure that you have been given the right pass as check-in agents can make mistakes. We are all human.

Right underneath is your ticket number. You will not need to worry about this part. 

To the right of your ticket number is a spot for your frequent flyer or rewards designation. This will usually be shown in the form of the initials for the program you participate in or will be left blank if you are not enrolled in any frequent flyer program. Ex. Aeroplane, Miles and More.

The next row down lists information important to you:

Your flight number. This will tell you the full flight number including the two letter airline code for the airline you are flying with. Ex. AC9999 for Air Canada or LH 1111 for Lufthansa. It will be followed by the date of your flight.

Your departure city. This is the city and airport that you are departing from. Some cities have multiple airports so be careful to check from which of them your flight departs.

Your destination city. This is the city and airport that you will be arriving into.  Some flights may stop at your destination and then continue onward with the same flight number (a stopover flight). If your destination does not match the one on the departure screen just check the flight number to make sure you are in the right area.

The next line goes into more detail for your flight:

Boarding Time: This is the time that the flight is scheduled to start boarding.  This is not the same as departure time but you should plan to be at or near your departure gate by the time that boarding starts. 

Gate: This is your boarding gate. Sometimes this area will have a gate number or a letter and number. Ex. Gate 2, Gate A2. Other times it may be blank.  This happens when your boarding time is too far into the future for a gate to have been assigned such as when you are connecting to a flight on the next day.  In either case make sure to check the boarding screens at the airport to see what gate your flight is boarding at as gates can change close to boarding time.

Seat: This is your seat number. It will always be a row number followed by a letter designating your place. Ex. 1a, 22b.

The last line will have your departure time.  This is no the end of boarding but the time that the aircraft is scheduled to leave the gate. Boarding ends ten to fifteen minutes earlier, depending on the destination and the airport.

Some boarding passes may have a tear away section on the right. This is a hold over from the time when the main part of the boarding pass was kept by the airline to verify who has boarded. This section will usually have the most important information on it. These are your flight number, destination, seat number. For anyone travelling on Air Canada this section will also state your zone. The zone is the new boarding procedure and you may board when your zone number is called.

If you ever have any doubts about the information on your boarding pass just ask an employee of the airline you are flying with and they will be able to help you.

If you have any questions or any suggestions please leave your comments below and to all of you flying have a great flight!

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