A boarding pass is a document that gives you permission to board an airplane for a particular flight.
You used to get these issued to you (like tickets), printed by the airline — on their printers, at their expense — and now you have to largely print your own.
For years now, I have avoided printing out boarding passes with major airlines, choosing the “collect at airport” option. With some carriers, now even that is no longer a valid choice. Sometimes, I am forced to print — at my own expense — an array of advertising as part of the boarding pass, too. (Won’t somebody think of the ink?!)
You need to have access to a printer, and you need to provide the paper and ink. This may be perfectly possible at home but harder to do if you’ve been meditating in a yurt in Tajikistan. Few of us take our printers on holiday. So, if check-in opens 24 hours before a flight, that means you can spend the last day of your holiday pleading with friends, relations, passers-by, or the staff in small hotels or an internet cafe to aid you in your quest.
One low-cost carrier used to allow you to print out your boarding passes seven days in advance, which meant you could print the outward and return passes before you left home. It’s recently downsized the window to four days.
Unless you pay extra, of course, to have “assigned seating”. Then you get your month-long check-in back.
If I require the airline to do the printing, this comes at a considerable price. Sometimes called a “Boarding Card Reissue Fee”, this printing can cost you very dearly. Several hundred pounds, in one case.
This does not dispose me well towards the airlines. I’ve already given them a substantial amount of money so that they can transport me at some unreasonable hour to some unreasonable place; why should I be doing their work for them?
There’s nothing for it. I’m going to have to go the route of the electronic boarding pass, on my “mobile device”, as they like to call it, and pray the battery doesn’t run out at the wrong moment.
Oh. Some airports cannot accept mobile boarding passes. Yet.