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Why does online check-in sometimes close earlier than the offline check-in?

E.g., https://www.skyairline.com/english/services/faq :

[Online] check in opens 48 hours before your flight and closes 1 hour before your flight depart.

The counter will close 40 minutes before flight departure time.

  • I was curious so I checked out the website you linked to, and to my understanding offline check-in isn't possible longer than online check-in. It's only the baggage drop counter that closes 40 minutes before departure... – Sabine Jan 5 at 20:02
  • @Sabine thanks, interesting, where did you see the 1-hour offline check-in deadline? – Franck Dernoncourt Jan 5 at 20:04
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    @Sabine I just had a talk with an agent at the Sky counter in CUZ airport, she told me the off-line check-in is 45 minutes. Difficult to find accurate information with airlines... – Franck Dernoncourt Jan 5 at 21:20
  • If you choose "Web SKY Help", "Check-In", under "I can't check in through the web page" it says "Check in is available from 48 and until 1 hour prior to flight departure time. In case you can't do it online, we recommend you to try later or check in directly at the airport without cost. " No mention of the 1 hour being specific to online check in... – Sabine Jan 6 at 8:58
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Because people use online check-in before they get to the airport, whereas with offline check-in you are by definition at the airport. They want to know if you are actually there at the airport.

They don't want you to be doing online check-in 40 minutes before your flight because you probably won't get to the airport in time. Even if you manage it they won't know you will be there which makes their planning harder.

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    Thanks. I'd remark that one can online check-in at the airport if there is a long queue at the counter, or on the way to the airport – Franck Dernoncourt Jan 5 at 17:39
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    wouldn't they have the same issue regardless of when the passenger complete their online check-in? – Franck Dernoncourt Jan 5 at 17:43
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    Yes. But close to departure time it's worse. Most people who do online check-in to it well in advance. It's when people are running late, and not likely to make it in time, they don't want them giving the false impression of being there by using online check-in when they are still an hour from the airport. – DJClayworth Jan 5 at 17:48
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    There is no technical reason why a smartphone-based online check-in could not provide to the airline the location of the traveller. – gerrit Jan 6 at 13:55
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    @TomášZato-ReinstateMonica Smartphone application could verify that user is connected to the airport wifi. I don't know how easy or hard it would be to fake, but I can hardly imagine that anyone would go through the effort. – gerrit Jan 6 at 15:17

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