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United won't let us check in on-line

posts: 483
reviews: 51
United won't let us check in on-line

Just got off the phone with UAL. For the third time in a little over a year - we cannot get boarding passes printed for our international travel...after going through all the signing in...the email confirmations just say "you are not checked in...must present passport to agent". This happened September 2012 when husband and I went to France; again last spring to England...and now we're going to Rome on the 8th. This time our daughter is going with us and we are all on separate tickets (although cross-referenced in the system). It is always the same message...someone in your party is not eligible for on-line check in. I presume it is not the kid..as it has happened to us before.

I checked on the UAL "Ask Alex" section...and we certainly meet all the requirements for checking on-line. Do any of you experts have an idea why we are being singled out? Or are we? I'm very confused. The agent on the phone couldn't get me checked in either...and said it was just one of those random things. Random...three times?


Edited: 12:06 pm, October 07, 2013
Seattle, Washington
posts: 8,972
reviews: 91
1. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

This happens often for international trips, no matter what information you have entered in advance online. They want to see your passport. It is really not a big deal.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
posts: 27,874
2. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

CATraveler46 is on a watch list and "out of an abundance of caution" so are you

Edited: 12:12 pm, October 07, 2013
Austin, Texas
posts: 18
reviews: 78
3. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

That happens frequently with international travel. I have had it happen, too. Don't worry. Just make sure you bring your passport.

London, United...
posts: 18,905
reviews: 23
4. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

You may be on a watch,list ie have a name similar to someone who is not eligible to travel As they pose a threat or whatever. I have a similar problem for the US. I travel there a few times a year and am never able to check in on line, not even once. It always says I am not eligible for on line check in and to present myself at airport,

It's not a big deal though, select your seat, present your paperwork at the check in desk and you are good to go. It's just a tad frustrating if travelling with companions and you are always the only one to have to join the queue. It is what it is, so don't sweat it, just get there a bit earlier and ahead of the crowds.

posts: 483
reviews: 51
5. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

Okay...thanks guys. I'm really not sweating it...we ALWAYS get to the airport early - but am just kind of floored that this is still going on. Once, I could see...twice - well - a little more curious...but three times? The guy on the phone did say that possibly one of us has a name similar to someone the TSA has suspicions about.

Oh well...our car service should pick us up at 4:30 AM tomorrow for a 20 minute ride to SMF to catch a 7:55 AM flight to IAD - so shouldn't be a problem getting there. :-)

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 11,823
reviews: 86
6. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

Well, I recently flew Delta internationally. I was able to check in online for the outbound portion, which surprised me, then when I got to the gate the agent sort of chewed me out because he had to enter my passport information at the gate computer terminal. I had of course entered it online but it did not show up for him. I felt kind of bad...I leave from a small airport so the desk agent closes down the check-in desk to become the gate agent and I slowed the loading process slightly. Still we were loaded and had the doors shut 14 minutes ahead of time so we got off the ground early anyway.

I am not even going to waste time trying to do an online check in next time I do an international flight.


London, UK
posts: 1,221
reviews: 128
7. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

I don't think it's that uncommon - it's happened to me a couple of times before, not with United but with Virgin and BA. When it did happen it was always on the return leg which for me was travelilng from the US to the UK. On neither occasion did it make any difference to my journey at all - I just turned up at the airport and checked in the old fashioned way with no difficulty or obvious additional checks at all.

Chiang Khong...
posts: 3,858
reviews: 1
8. Re: United won't let us check in on-line


as I always have bags to check and fly out of a smaller airport I always check-in at counter.

I also have connecting flights which I can't get on-line boarding pass

I thought they made everyone who flys international.go thru check-in counter maybe it is just me LOL

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
posts: 11,823
reviews: 86
9. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

Sawadeeka, I first thought it was just us Idahoans! We always have so many steps to get anywhere thats why I was shocked a couple weeks ago when I could print out my boarding passes leaving out of Lewiston. Well, it just wound with me feeling bad the guy had to do extra stuff at the gate.


posts: 232
reviews: 7
10. Re: United won't let us check in on-line

I was unable to check in online for my last two flights to LHR. It turns out I had my passport expiration information entered incorrectly online.