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On line check in

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alfredsvideo

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Jul 16, 2007
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I have just discovered that on-line check in is a bit of a joke. I went to check in immediately the "Desk" was open, (i.e. 24 hours before flight), wishing to select our seats. Out of 156 economy seats to choose from, there were only about 10 other seats we could change to, from those which we had already been allocated. I fail to believe that that many people had already beaten me. Any comments? Thanks, Alf.
 

Brettmcg

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A friend of mine flew back to Frankfurt on Emirates last Thursday. The evening prior to his departure we were able to use Emirates' OLCI function. Listed are below are some definite benefits of being able to check-in early:

  1. He was allocated 46D (with a free/blocked seat next to him) from MEL - DXB, and 8A (probably one of the best Y seats on the plane) from DXB - FRA.
  2. As we arrived at the airport - a good 3.5 hours before departure - we could see that the line to the regular check-in desks was at least, when "unfolded", 3-4 x 30m. Thankfully we were able to walk straight up to an OLCI DESK and receive boarding passes and bagagge tags within 3 or 4 minutes of arriving at the airport, and without having to queue up with all the other poor (or maybe silly) souls.

    In fact, if you were in the regular check-in line it probably would have been worth leaving, finding a cheap internet terminal and checking in that way!
I can say I have had only positive experiences with OLCI, and if you are not entirely happy with your seat you can always arrive earlier at the airport and have them change it.
 

davocns

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Apr 12, 2006
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I have used QF OLCI (domestic) on a number of occasions. Generally I am happy with the seat allocation that I have been issued with ,but always check again maybe 2 - 3 hours before departure time to see if any better seats have become available ( it's worked a couple of times ). This is certainly better than standing in long queues !
 

Mal

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Qantas pre-allocates all domestic booked seats before the online check-in opens. This is so that couples/families can sit together when booked in the same booking.

If the plane is pretty full, I agree you won't really be able to move anywhere better.

Online checkin allows you to save time at the airport and can provide some flexibility with seat movements at times.
 

Tooner

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... and an added benefit of checking in around 3 hours before departure, is the gate number is printed on your boarding card. As the CSA at the Club said the other day, they are told it can't be done!:D
 

SeaWolf

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Jan 24, 2007
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I've found DJ's online check in to be very good, with lots of seats to choose from. Every time I've used QF's online check in, I've often found there's very few seats to choose from and usually only one or two window seats (my preference) to select.
I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that with QF there are more seat options available if you skip online check in and just ask whoever is checking you in if it's possible to get the seat you want.
 

d15.in.oz

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Seat selection is definitely hotting up as a service differential between the major domestic airlines. Each system has its pros and cons, and each will appeal to a different type of traveller.

(The following chart has errors in it, if you spot one, please let me know - so I can fix it.)

SEAT ALLOCATION AT TIME OF BOOKING

Domestic Airline
  • Selection at Booking - Included
  • Selection at Booking - Add On (Fee)
  • Selection at Booking - Bundled Up Sell
Jetstar
  • Any available Standard Seat
  • Not Available
  • First 3 rows or Exits – bundled as a benefit of “Jet Flex”
Tiger
  • No
  • Fee level 1: Any Available Standard Seat OR Fee level 2: Any available Exit or Row 1 seat.
  • Not available
Qantas
  • Priority loyalty passengers may request forward/rear and aisle/window as a preference.
  • Not Available
  • Purchased Qantas Club membership, has seat allocation request as a bundled product feature.
Virgin Blue
  • Not Available
  • Select Exit or Row 1 "Blue Zone" seats for a fee, only available over the phone, for an additional contact centre charge.
  • Not Available
SEAT ALLOCATION AT CHECK IN

Domestic Airline
  • Pre Assigned
  • Online
  • At Terminal
Jetstar
  • Pre-assigned seating for codeshare passengers who have unallocated seats (?)
  • Not Available
  • First in best dressed, with what's left. 1D,E,F may be kept aside for unassigned priority loyalty customers (?)
Tiger
  • No
  • No
  • Empty seats are filled from the back of the aircraft, in a logical order. (Those without pre-allocated seats may not be seated together.)
Qantas
  • Yes, based on priority customer preferences and passengers travelling together.
  • Yes, within the constraints of those seats already preassigned or taken
  • Yes, constrained by those seats already taken, but new ones available due to upgrading/moved/cancelling passengers.
Virgin Blue
  • Not Available (?)
  • Yes, first in best dressed.
  • Yes, constrained by allocations already selected online.
 
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NM

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alfredsvideo said:
I have just discovered that on-line check in is a bit of a joke. I went to check in immediately the "Desk" was open, (i.e. 24 hours before flight), wishing to select our seats. Out of 156 economy seats to choose from, there were only about 10 other seats we could change to, from those which we had already been allocated. I fail to believe that that many people had already beaten me. Any comments? Thanks, Alf.
As others have noted, OLCI is not the first pointe in time at which seats are allocated. For many years now, QF has pre-allocated seats prior to opening the flight for check-in. They used to do this in the wee hours of the morning of the day of the flight, but now that OLCI is available 24 hours before flight departure, the automatic pre-allocation now takes place prior to OLCI opening.

The automatic pre-allocation is based on FF status and profile, honouring the profile selection criteria for FF members with highest status first.

So when OLCI opens, the only seats available for selection are those that have not yet been pre-allocated. You will find that if using OLCI at T-24 hours, then you will actually have the least number of options available to you for selection, especially anything considered a good seat, since they have all been pre-allocated to higher status FF members. But as time passes and higher status FF members make changes to the plans, the seats they have pre-allocated will return to the pool of seats available for selection by OLCI.

OLCI is not provided as a service to allow people to grab a good seat. It is provided as a service to help the airline reduce their costs be requiring less check-in staff and to provide passengers the perception that they are being provided with a useful service.
 

d15.in.oz

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NM said:
OLCI is not provided as a service to allow people to grab a good seat...
OF course, as NM points out this is Qantas' philosophy…however, the complete opposite seems to be the case for Virgin Blue’s guests.
 

NM

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d15.in.oz said:
OF course, as NM points out this is Qantas' philosophy…however, the complete opposite seems to be the case for Virgin Blue’s guests.
Not really. DJ's reasoning for OLCI is similar to QF's - to reduce costs and allow customers to think they are receiving an extra service. The difference with DJ is that they don't do the pre-allocation like QF does, so people using OLCI do actually get to select from a larger number of available seats.

So I would say the reason the airlines offer OLCI is similar, but the end result for customers is different. As a FF member with status, I still like the QF pre-allocation procedure.
 

d15.in.oz

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NM said:
DJ's reasoning for OLCI is similar to QF's ...
With respect, unless you work in the industry(?), I would not interpolate Virgin Blue’s rational. (P.S. If you are correct, and that is the ONLY reason - then there are DJ managers due for a sacking! Presumably thankful I don’t work in their industry…)

I posted the other day about Qantas’ increasing problems regarding Priority without Plebs - there are Qantas Club members who are relatively frequent flying Bronze FF’s & Silver ones, that aren’t getting what they expect from Qantas.

Virgin Blue’s system would certainly appeal to them - plus a “the Lounge” membership (or corporate rate discount), for those flying regularly between the major eastern Australian population/political/business centres.

Of course I am assuming that this is by design, and not a fluke!
 
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NM

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d15.in.oz said:
With respect, unless you work in the industry(?), I would not interpolate Virgin Blue’s rational. (P.S. If you are correct, and that is the ONLY reason - then there are DJ managers due for a sacking! Presumably thankful I don’t work in their industry…)
My comments are my opinion and based on my understanding of the aviation industry.
d15.in.oz said:
I posted the other day about Qantas’ increasing problems regarding Priority without Plebs - there are Qantas Club members who are relatively frequent flying Bronze FF’s & Silver ones, that aren’t getting what they expect from Qantas.
I don't doubt that one bit. Many QF-loyal FF members don't realise the poor value they are getting from their membership compared with the alternatives now available.
d15.in.oz said:
Virgin Blue’s system would certainly appeal to them - plus a “the Lounge” membership (or corporate rate discount), for those flying regularly between the major eastern Australian population/political/business centres.
I agree
d15.in.oz said:
Of course I am assuming that this is by design, and not a fluke!
I would say is a bit of both, and shows that all systems are not the same (thankfully), providing different benefits for different situations. The trick is to use your head to determine what is best for you, rather than sticking with what the heart has grown up with. You seem to be one who uses your head to make your determination. QF still manages to draw a large number of people with a kangaroo-shaped soft spot in their heart.
 

oz_mark

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NM said:
Not really. DJ's reasoning for OLCI is similar to QF's - to reduce costs and allow customers to think they are receiving an extra service. The difference with DJ is that they don't do the pre-allocation like QF does, so people using OLCI do actually get to select from a larger number of available seats.
I was under the impression that OLCI did not represent much of a cost saving to the airlines (still need Bag drop etc.), but do accept that passengers think they are getting more service.
 

coyote25

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As stated earlier the QANTAS OLCI is very restricted on flights that will have frequent flyers at the WP or SG level on the plane (ie. business hour flights MEL-SYD-BRI in particular).

As a WP I'm for the most part happy they have recognised our status in this way, however I've noted that it does seem to mean way more non-status passengers sitting in the middle seats up the front of Y then in the past (the checkin terminals add to this situation as well).

Only 2-3 years ago if there were empty seats on the plane it was likely they were the middle seats up the front of the plane. These days I've seen PS and non-status passengers move from window/aisle seats at the back to the front for a middle seat (travelling colleagues do it all the time!).

As for Virgin I'm sure one day they'll end up in a similar situation as they become a more full service airline (esp. once they create a no frills subs).

BTW For non-status passengers late checkin is also not a bad option. A few times recently the system released my pre-allocated seat for general selection (always when the plane was delayed and before I had checked in). I ended up in a 'bad' seat (well not as good).

The check in staff confirmed this is a problem with the system when they key in a delayed flight. Personally only 1.5 hour flights so I didn't care but if it was on international I might have been a little unhappy.
 

d15.in.oz

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oz_mark said:
...passengers think they are getting more service...
I think that, for those at the bottom end of the Qantas priority system, who are savvy about T-24 OLCI (i.e. those who might be more positively oriented towards the "Virgin" brand anyway)... they will receive greatly better (in their opinion) seat allocation opportunities on Virgin Blue OLCI - i.e. first come first seated. (Even excluding pre-assigned Blue Zone seats.)


Every time Qantas seats a priority customer with a "Forward Aisle" preference, behind the emergency exits, they are creating pissed of passengers. And one thing I will say for an all economy 737, it has more "Forward Aisle" opportuities than one with business class.

NM said:
...sticking with what the heart has grown up with...
Perhaps in the banking industry, this Australianism - means the big 4 get to keep their strangle hold. However, it is only 6 years since Ansett first went into receivership... people who have grown up without an Ansett, aren't making too many travel decisions, yet, methinks! I must agree thought, that most people make purchase decisions from the heart, as well as the mind - I would be no different. :oops:
 

Mal

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Virgin Blue also pre-allocates seats before Online Checkin. I think the difference with them is that with no status to stroke, they may fill 2A,2B then leave Seat 2C free and put the next pax into 3A (Depending on loads of course).

This gives the availability of seats to move around to. Lightly loaded planes also help in this regard.
 

Hvr

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Have flown VB with work (BFOD requirement). I tried to use OLCI and when it wouldn't work rang them up. Was told I had already been allocated to 2C.

I reckon it was better than row 1 which doesn't have an overhead locker.
 

NM

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oz_mark said:
I was under the impression that OLCI did not represent much of a cost saving to the airlines (still need Bag drop etc.), but do accept that passengers think they are getting more service.
For domestic flights, there are a lot of passengers who do not check luggage, who do represent a cost saving when using OLCI or QuickCheck type kiosks.
 

pauly7

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NM said:
For domestic flights, there are a lot of passengers who do not check luggage, who do represent a cost saving when using OLCI or QuickCheck type kiosks.
Absolutely, look at any Mel/Syd/Bris CityFlyer from 3-7pm!! I'd be suprised if they checked in baggage for 5 passengers ;)
 

simongr

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I actually much prefer the AA system where I can preselect seats after booking. I do not get much benefit from OLCI - it wouldnt even work for BA flights this weekend - whereas KI just went to a kiosk and checked in for both flights LHR-DXB-LHR and was through security into the lounge 10 mins after arriving at the terminal.

I have tried a couple of times to use OLCI and it hasnt worked well so it is easier now to just ignore it ;)
 
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