Woman holding ticket in airport

Why Checking In For Your Flight Early Might Not Be The Best Idea

By Nicole Cord-Cruz


While you can generally check in for your flight around 24 hours before takeoff, waiting until you get to the airline's counter can pay off if you have a basic economy ticket.
Basic economy tickets often don't allow you to select your seat ahead of time, meaning you could get the worst row. Playing the waiting game can score you a better spot.
Travel editor Zach Honig told Real Simple, "If you wait until all of the seats are assigned, the airline could end up assigning you an extra legroom seat."
If you want to try getting upgraded to a first- or business-class seat, check in with the airline staff in person. They can often offer last-minute discounted upgrades.
TikTok user @voyagerguru shares that sometimes, you just need to ask. "Lots of airlines have lucrative upsell opportunities that may just get you bumped to business," she said.
If you're not worried about your seat, you should check in earlier, especially during the busy season. This is also true for airlines with unique boarding processes like Southwest.