The British Airways Pre-Boarding Requirements

Updated July 19, 2017

Flying with British Airways requires a number of pre-boarding procedures in order to ensure that passengers board properly and on time. It is important that passengers familiarise themselves with these requirements ahead of time so that they may avoid the possibility of missing their flights. Even so, passengers should also arrive to the airport at least one hour before their departure times, in case there are delays in airport security, the baggage drop or check-in lines.


Passengers must check in on time and have their boarding passes handy by the time check-in closes, or else they will miss their flights. Check-in may be accomplished in one of four ways: at an airport kiosk, at a British Airways check-in desk, online at or through a mobile phone with online capabilities. Online check-ins may be done any time within 24 hours of the flight, and must be completed at least one hour before the flight. If done by computer, passengers may create their boarding passes at and print them out on the spot. If completed by mobile phone through, their boarding passes will be ready for them at any airport check-in kiosk or British Airways check-in desk. If travelling from the United States, all passengers are required to stop at a British Airways check-in desk in order to take care of additional security formalities, regardless of their original check-in method.

Proper Identification

In order to obtain their boarding passes and to pass through airport security as well as customs for international flights, passengers must carry proper identification with them at all times. For domestic flights, passengers will require either a passport or some other form of photo ID. For international flights, passengers must present their passport along with the appropriate visa in case it is requested. All passengers who have completed online or airport kiosk check-ins and are flying to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tripoli or Kiev must also report to a passport and visa check desk before heading to airport security.

Baggage Check

Before boarding the flight, passengers must check their baggage at the baggage drop. With regards to weight and number of bags allowed, free baggage allowances depend upon your destination as well as your type of club membership; consult the British Airways website for charts and lists of baggage specifications (see Resources). With regards to size specifications, normal baggage must fit the dimensions of 90cm x 75cm x 43cm (35.5 inches x 29.5 inches x 16 inches) or less. For bulkier items such as sporting goods and musical instruments, the specifications of 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75 inches x 29.5 inches x 25.5 inches) are allowed at no extra cost. Passengers who wish to exceed their respective weight, size and/or bag number restrictions may pay an additional fee in order to check all of their baggage, permitting that there is enough space remaining on the plane.

Airport Security

Immediately before boarding, all passengers and carry-on luggage must pass through airport security, where they will be checked both physically as well as by machines to detect prohibited items. Passengers may bring aboard a main carry-on bag as well as an additional handbag for laptops, reading materials and other accessories. It is prohibited to carry aboard weapons, sharp objects, lighters, flammable items as well as a host of other items; for a full list of prohibited items, consult the British Airways website (see Resources). There are also distinct sets of rules for carry-on liquids that require container size and number specifications, depending upon your departure location as well as your destination. It is important for passengers to familiarise themselves with all prohibited items and carry-on baggage specifications in order to avoid potential conflict and confusion at airport security.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Justin Higgins has traveled throughout South America. He writes articles that appear on various websites with a focus on travel and science-related topics. Higgins is a graduate from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology.