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So I have an upcoming flight to Scotland (of which I still have a valid UK visa for).

But it just occurred to me for budget airlines e.g. EasyJet etc. if they offer online check-in with boarding pass, then you can head straight to the gate. In such a case, how do they determine that you have the required visa documents for travel ?

With full fledged airlines at the check-in desk they normally check your visa before issuing your boarding pass.

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    They do it at the gate before you board. – RedBaron Apr 13 '17 at 8:46
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    It's not just budget airlines who offer online check in. I rarely visit a check in desk for my local full service carrier even when flying intercontinentally. – Calchas Apr 13 '17 at 10:42
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** Will my travel documents be checked at the airport?**

...

If you check-in online you will still need to provide your photographic ID when you go through security and again when you board the plane.

http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/preparing-to-fly/travel-documentation

It is at that point they check the visa requirements, see the section following the above for Easyjets comments on International Travel and travel documents.

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How do budget airlines check visas when you check-in online?

They check your documents at some point before you board.

  • If you check baggage, they will check you documents at that point.
  • If you proceed directly into the terminal, they will check at the gate or at a special desk somewhere in the terminal.
  • If they need to verify documents, passengers may be called to the gate stand.

Note, they may check more than once.

Regardless of how or where it happens, they will be checked. Check-in is a somewhat minor formality and is really unrelated to document verification.

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With at least one budget airline, who shall remain nameless, in the old days when my wife (a US citizen) was living in the UK on ILR, she simply wasn't allowed to do online check-in. We were required to check-in in person, although the fee for not checking in online was waived.

Now she has a UK passport, and is travelling in Europe on that, things are much easier (at least until Brexit).

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    "she simply wasn't allowed to do online check-in" - this is no longer true. Online check-in is now allowed, but some airlines want you to submit your documents at the check-in kiosk, although enforcement of that rule varies. – JonathanReez Apr 13 '17 at 10:06
  • @JonathanReez that seems quite a sweeping statement. Are you confident that none has such a policy any longer, or are you merely noting that not all do? – MadHatter Apr 13 '17 at 11:45
  • EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizzair no longer have such a policy. Others never had it in the first place. – JonathanReez Apr 13 '17 at 12:22
  • Although this isn't directly related to the question (they not being budget airlines) I am still unable to do online checkin for United or Delta, flying to the US, because I'm one of the odd UK nationals with a US visa rather than ESTA. So I'm slightly sceptical of the blanket statement that "others never had it in the first place". I am glad to hear that RyanAir (for it was them) has dropped the policy, though. Thank you for that datum! – MadHatter Apr 13 '17 at 12:34

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