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I'm planning on buying a flight from Ireland to USA. It has 1 stop: Dublin to UK with Aer Lingus, then from UK to America with Virgin Atlantic. I want to do an online check in to get my boarding passes but since it's with two airlines I'm unsure of how to get both boarding passes, I have both apps for each airline on my phone, do I just enter in the booking reference number from the ticket info I receive through email once I buy the ticket into both apps and get both boarding passes separately or what is the process?

I already have visa, passport etc I just want clarification before I buy my ticket. I will also just be bringing hand luggage with me if that is relevant at all.

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    If it is one booking, you only need one check in, and it will give you both Boarding Passes – Aganju May 7 '18 at 17:47
  • Thanks, do I get the boarding passes through the travel site that I've booked the flight on or do I need to check in from one of the Airline apps – Rob May 7 '18 at 17:49
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    The app or website from the airline you booked the first leg on – Aganju May 7 '18 at 17:51
  • Once you are checked in with the first operating carrier it is usually possible to collect the boarding pass for the second carrier via the second carrier’s app. – Calchas May 7 '18 at 20:40
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If this is a single ticket/booking, you just check in with the first airline and in most cases you should get the boarding passes for both legs. There are exceptions though, so you should check upfront with the airline.

If these are two different tickets/reservation, than you need to check in with each airline individually (using both apps)

Keep in mind that some international flights do not offer online check-in since some airlines want to check your travel documents during the check in process.

  • So if I go onto the Aer Lingus website and check in I will receive the Aer Lingus boarding pass and the Virgin Atlantic boarding pass onto my phone both through the Aer Lingus app? Thanks for your help – Rob May 7 '18 at 18:18
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If you bought your ticket with Aer Lingus as a single flight with a lay-over, it's possible that your second flight has a code share, and has different numbers (one flight number with Virgin's prefix, and one with Aer Lingus' prefix). If so, you can check in only on your first flight and receive both boarding passes.

If you deliberately bought two separate tickets for each leg of your trip, then you'll probably have to check-in again with Virgin Atlantic.

I experienced something similar in my travel GIG->AMS->CDG with KLM. I bought it as one ticket with a lay-over. The first check in on KLM's website gave me the two boarding passes (even though the second flight was an Air France flight (with the AF prefix code) it also had a KL prefix code. That's code sharing).

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In most cases you will be able to get both boarding passes before you go:

  • On reservation with a single reference number, when you check within 23 hours of your first flight, you will get both boarding passes when you perform your online checking.
  • Should you get two reference numbers, you will be able to get both boarding passes too but you will have to check in for each flight separately. This time, within 23 hours of each flight, you will be able to check-in the respective one and get your boarding passes.

Even if you complete the check-in online you will still have to go to the check-in counter to present your documents needed for an international flight. Depending on the airline and airport in particular, you can use a faster lane for those that have done the online check-in. For some combinations, the only thing that you get for checking in online is selecting your seat from the flight map.

It can also happen, although rarely, that you check-in online a confirmation that says you are checked-in but this is not a boarding pass, in which case you will have to get to the check-in counter to convert that into an actual boarding pass. This is usually to check-in your documents.

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