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FAQ : Why can't I check in online? OLCI and boarding pass difficulties

Old Dec 22, 2017, 9:39 am
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Last edit by: EsherFlyer
This thread is dedicated to explaining some of the reasons why OLCI (Online Check-in) doesn't work on British Airways' website BA.com and / or its App software. The first post give the main reasons, and subsequent posts give more background. By all means reach out in this thread if you are still unsure. If you are new to the BA Forum - perhaps Google brought you here - have a look in the forum's stickies and Dashboard for more reference material.

Note that there is a HTML typo in the first link of the first thread. Try this instead: https://classic.checkmytrip.com/plne...&SITE=XCMTXXNS
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FAQ : Why can't I check in online? OLCI and boarding pass difficulties

Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:40 pm
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FAQ : Why can't I check in online? OLCI and boarding pass difficulties

This thread is intended to help those who are trying to check in online and have difficulties. This includes being unable to complete online check-in or inability to get a boarding pass. The first post is intended to give the main causes, with further posts giving more details or recent examples. If you don't see a plausible explanation after reading the first few posts by all means reach out in this thread for further assistance.

Firstly don't worry - usually it is easily resolved, but one thing to check immediately is that you have been ticketed.

1) Are you properly ticketed?
Always an important detail to check with any reservation, but particularly if you changed the reservation after your initial booking was done.
How to check this? Two ways. On the BA App, go to More Flight Details and a scroll to the bottom. You should see a ticket number there, starting 125. Second way: go to this website and check the e-ticket tab:

What do you do about this? Ring the BA contact centre immediately and ask them to check. If your reservation was made by a travel agency then it's best to contact them first. Though in many cases it can be sorted out at the airport it may take a long time and you are strongly advised to resolve it before then. NB: one known factor is that that tickets paid for in currencies other than Sterling and Euros are outsourced to another company and if they fail to ticket within 7 days the CVV information on your credit card is automatically deleted, blocking eventual payment. The Contact Centre can resolve this. If you are struggling to find a Contact Centre open then one option is to get in touch with BA's Twitter team via Direct Message.

2) Did you amend your booking?
This is an extension of the previous question. If you changed your ticket after first buying it, you particularly need to check that it has been properly reissued or revalidated. If you changed a leg the previous sectors may still be lurking in the booking. This Taiwan based website can help with this, the first line is the PNR, the second is the surname. Once it has come back with a result, you may want to click on the link above the information box, on the left, indicated by the letters PDF.
If you have a lurking sector this may prevent you from checking in until it is cleared. This can be done at the airport but it's not necessarily obvious to the agent so it is worth mentioning that you have a redundant sector that can be cleared out. If on the other hand you don't have a ticket number on the App you definitely need to call up and not leave that particular issue at the airport. It can be sorted out there if it is a revenue ticket issued from BA.com but it may take some time to resolve. If it is a redemption ticket then it may take even longer, so it's best not to rely on this.

3) Have you submitted the right Advance Passenger (API) information? Is your ESTA / eTA up to date?
Particularly for travel to the USA and Canada, your passport number on the booking is checked against databases to check your ESTA or eTA status. The weblink above, under Traveller Information will show the passport on the booking. There's a separate bug in this area where the system seems to keep requested API despite it being done - one workaround is to edit the API, change a letter, reverse the change, save and then go straight to OLCI. Some other things to look for: have you changed your passport since the booking? Also some countries require passports to not expire within 6 months after the arrival date. Your BAEC account may populate your bookings with default data but it may not be correct for this particular booking. For example dual nationals with US passports must travel to the USA on US passports, and that must show in the API.

3a) Have you recently changed or renewed your passport?
This is particularly relevant if you booked travel with one passport but will use another passport for travel. If the old passport would have expired by the time of travel the system will have picked this up. So you need to ensure your API data is correct, and it may be necessary to ring BA to change information held on the booking. But ideally you best not leave any changes in this area to the last moment, and that as soon as you have a new passport you update all your bookings accordingly.

4) Are you within 24 hours of departure?
OLCI starts at T-24 for your flight based on local time for the departure airport. However you can check in for some flights more than 24 hours from departure: if you have a connecting flight (but see below) and if your return is under 24 hours before arrival. In these situations - where there is a long gap between flights - there is a greater chance that the final flight(s) won't be ready for OLCI.

5) Are you on a connecting flight?
Let's say you are flying from Detroit to New York to London, the first flight is on AA, then it's a BA flight to Heathrow. Maybe you can check in fine for the Detroit - New York flight but BA.com won't issue a boarding pass for the onwards flight. This is because AA use SABRE and BA use Amadeus and the two systems don't communicate very well to each other. You can't check in for the second flight before the first one, but in this case the BA sector will probably not detect that you have actually got a SABRE based boarding pass. Generally a clued up AA agent can issue all boarding passes from (in this case) Detroit, but in the worst case scenario you will have to collect the BA one from JFK.

5a) Are you on a connecting flight but perhaps can check-in for the first leg?
Sometimes if you have 2 flights ready for OLCI, particularly if OLCI spans 2 days, you cannot check in to work at all in the first instance. What you can try is de-selecting the second flight and trying to check in with just the first flight selected (it may need a few key strokes to get this to work). Then you may find that the first flight can check in fine. Moreover you can then try re-entering the booking a second time and then checking for the second flight on its own. With any luck you will then be able to get that to work as well.

6) Does your airport allow OLCI?
Some airports only allow check in at the airport. These are usually smaller airports or new routes, it includes all airports in Greece apart from SKG and ATH, NUE, the smaller French airports. A larger group of airports allow self printed boarding passes but not the App boarding pass. LCY-JFK allows self printed boarding passes but not the App.

7) Is there a temporary problem?
Very occasionally the flight isn't ready at T-24, for example if there is a late equipment change, in which case just check later. And BA and Amadeus sometimes have IT outages, which normally get resolved in an hour or so.

8) Have you been selected for SSSS?
As part of a deal between Europe and the USA in the summer of 2017, BA - along with all European airlines - have sharply increased the number of passengers selected for enhanced security checks at the gate for flights to the USA. SSSS is printed on the boarding pass. This only takes a few minutes, and is a minor hassle in the grand scheme of things, but it means you must collect your boarding pass at the airport, though you probably will get a checked in status online. Typically if one person in your booking is unable to get a boarding pass but everyone else can then this is a strong pointer. You don't need to arrive early to get your boarding pass in this scenario. At the gate your bags may well be checked again, you may be asked about your electronics, and you may be swabbed for a test for explosives. SSSS inside the USA and on US airlines is slightly diffferent, in the US it's done at main security, but it's generally the case that if you have SSSS on the BA flight, any further flights on typically AA may also involve a SSSS check. If you have two sectors on AA, you may even have to clear security on the final flight too, check with the TSA well before that final flight. Though the search is not that intrusive, you will save a bit of time if you carry less hand luggage, either by checking it in or by asking your travel companions to carry items. You don't need to be at the gate any earlier than normal, however if you get there before boarding has started, you can identify yourself to the BA agent who will sometimes allow you into the boarding area for the search to be done before boarding starts. Down thread are more reports of SSSS in practice.

9) Have you been upgraded or downgraded?
Upgrades are far more common, but if there are no seats available at the time of check-in then you won't get a boarding pass until there is. Leaving it a few hours may resolve this, either you will be moved or someone else will be and then seats become available again. Upgrades can be visible (and allow boarding pass printing) in advance of travel, it's far easier to see this on the App than on BA.com. A refresh of More Flight Details will perhaps show a new seat number, but it's not unusual if the App boarding pass won't refresh or gives confusing information. Downgrades - which are rare - are not visible before travel.

10) IT glitch on Europe to UK boarding passes
Sometimes someone returning to the UK will not be allowed a boarding pass - with a message suggesting that a passport check is required. This appears to be an occasional glitch on BA.com and the App. It's annoying but at the airport nothing will be amiss, and a boarding pass will be readily obtained. See post 2 for one partial workaround.

11) Are you on non BA metal or on a codeshare?
Sometimes BA.com can issue self printed boarding passes for other airlines, notably Cathay Pacific (but the App doesn't necessarily do this). If you are actually travelling on Aer Lingus or Vueling (etc) then you may need to check in at the airport. If your trip is something like GLA-LHR-ORK then it's possible you will be able to self print a boarding pass, but you will only be allowed one go at it (so consider emailing the boarding pass in case of printer problems) and you won't be allowed seat selection, you will just be given a random seat. If you are on a purely VY booking on BA code, use the BA PNR on the VY App and you will be able to select seats towards the front and possibly keep the middle seat clear if you are a single traveller. If you booked a codeshare on BA metal, BA.com and the App usually work fine, particularly if it is the first flight in the trip. In other cases BA.com may well redirect you to the website of the airline concerned. If it falls over there, make a note of the airline's PNR (which may be in the seating selection area of BA.com) and try the other airline with variations of your name.

12) Is your second flight on the next calendar day?
There is a well known bug where if your connecting flight is on a different calendar day to the the first flight you may need to check in for the first flight only to begin with, by deselecting the second flight from the options, get the boarding pass and then check again for the second flight. If you try to do both flights together it will fall over.

13) Have you just changed your flight?
For example if you are on Plus fare within Europe, if you used the App or BA.com to move to a new flight, it may take a few minutes for the reservation to be auto-reissued. Just leave it a few minutes and it should be fine. The App cache can be misleading in this situation, the Home page may still show the original booking. One workaround to this is to go to the full list of bookings, select the new flight, go the Manage My Booking, and check in there. After a bit the Home page will update and then you can download the boarding pass at that point.

14) Are you actually checked in but can't get a boarding pass?
This may result from SSS above or from the "visa check" error, but either way if your status is "checked in" then the problems are likely to be minor and you just need to allow a few extra minutes to retrieve your boarding pass at check-in or even at the departure gate in some cases. If you are checked in then it is usually possible for a BA trained agent to print a boarding pass even for other airports/sectors if necessary.

There may also be issues if you have an infant on your trip, particularly if there are surname differences. So long as the ticket is fully issued and your documentation is in order then you;re OK just to go to the check-in desk to get the boarding passes.

Many thanks to aidy, madfish, Geordie405, 710 77345, LTN Phobia, PETER01 and EsherFlyer for their contributions to this thread.
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Sep 21, 2019 at 11:53 am
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:41 pm
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Reserved for some nitty gritty
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:43 pm
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OK, here is a starter for ten, or rather nine.

Can we get our collective minds on improving the first post please? So anything I've overlooked? I'll amend the first post and add a wiki, then the rest of this thread can help people out should post 1 not resolve the issue.
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:45 pm
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It maybe worth adding codeshares, e.g BA number but a EI or AA flight, it can sometime happen
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:53 pm
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Proposed change/addition to opening post as per CWS’s request. OLCI 24 hours before. However, connecting flights can often be checked in at 24h before the first flight. Any reports of being able to check in for more than one flight but not get boarding pass for only second/subsequent flights?
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 3:55 pm
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Point 4 - I would say that if you are checking in with AA as they are operating the first sector then it is more likely than not that AA will check you in and issue boarding passes for all subsequent BA operated sectors. These can be printed at home. The BA app will show you as checked in but will also give an error stating that it cannot confirm your check in status (!) and therefore cannot issue a boarding pass. The BA app will, in some situations, actually allow you to download the AA boarding pass for the first sector. In situations like this you generally can't use ba.com to check in for the BA sectors either, as ba.com will redirect you to aa.com to check in as they are operating the first flight. If you need a BA boarding pass for subsequent sectors you will need to get these at the airport. Even after BA have issued the BP manually the app will still refuse to display the electronic BP.
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 4:04 pm
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Point 2 - I have often found when checking in on the app that the mobile check-in page will state that API / Passport Data needs to be checked, but when you do this you're told that it's all provided and is correct. The system gets into a loop at this stage. The solution is to click on the button to edit the data and then click on save - at which point you will be allowed to check in.
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 4:10 pm
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Lets add something about minimising your hand baggage when youve been selected for SSSS at security (in the US) and at the Gate (in the UK) by having your travelling partners carry more. This reduces the disruptions to the affected passenger, and speeds up the process for everyone behind them in the queue.
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 6:27 pm
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Suggestion? - If you have SSSS on your BP then identify yourself to the gate staff even before the gate officially opens.

I had this last week from T5B and was taken through and taken downstairs immediately (Gate B32) downstairs and waited whilst swabs were taken from my luggage, hands, outside of my socks and my waist/belt area. I was then told to wait in a seat and I was to board when the first (non SSSS) passengers were coming down the escalator/stairs which was pointed out by a member of G4S when the time came. The whole process only took a few minutes and the staff were polite and professional about the whole thing.

One 'advantage' was that I had the whole of the UD for about 4-5 minutes to myself before other J passengers arrived!

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Old Dec 21, 2017, 6:56 pm
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I find that sometimes it falls over when I have a connecting flight with a big gap between Flight 1 and Flight 2 if I tick the box for both flights, but it works fine if I untick Flight 2. I just need to get back to Flight 2 a bit later, and it would let me OLCI (this example is both BA).
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Old Dec 21, 2017, 7:47 pm
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Subset of point 1 probably - IME if you call in to ask to use the same-day change or a POUG then it may take a little while for ticket to settle down.
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Old Dec 22, 2017, 8:18 am
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I've done an update with the contributions so far, though not necessarily in the suggested location. Further comments most welcome.
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Old Dec 22, 2017, 8:31 am
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Thank you for this c-w-s.

it's good that you have put SSSS well down the list of reasons.

In many recent threads people have gone straight to saying that the poster has been selected when in fact that is often not the case which can cause unnecessary stress and worry.
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Old Dec 22, 2017, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear
Thank you for this c-w-s.

it's good that you have put SSSS well down the list of reasons.

In many recent threads people have gone straight to saying that the poster has been selected when in fact that is often not the case which can cause unnecessary stress and worry.
Why should a simple 5 minute security check cause stress and worry? It is rather painless, certainly if you have nothing to hide.
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Old Dec 22, 2017, 9:16 am
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Thank you for this. Very helpful. Just what FT is about.
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