Do You Need the Credit Card That You Used When Booking Your Flight for Check-In?

You’re at the airport and about to check in, when you realize you can’t find your credit card – you mentally trace your steps and hope that she is at home, under the pile of clothes that you packed up at the last minute. Luckily, you were at least prepared enough to bring your debit card with you to get through the next few days.

On Reddit, u / debunkedtheory asked a question that you may have asked yourself if you forgot or lost your credit card before traveling, or if a family member or employer arranged the trip on your behalf: the credit card used to book the flight affects your ability register?

Well, at one point several major US airlines did require you to present the card you bought your trip with in order to board your flight, usually to verify your identity and fight fraudulent purchases. This was often written in small print in your booking email, as reported by several users on the FlyerTalk forums back in 2009 and 2010.

Fortunately, airlines have become less strict with this policy in recent years. Delta, for example, may require a credit card, depending on the “market,” one airline representative told us. This can mean showing a credit card when traveling to or from certain international destinations. For United, one representative told us that a credit card is no longer needed when checking in for a flight; if your booking requires further verification, they will contact you directly.

However, traveling via international airlines can be tricky. On travel website One Mile at a Time, writer Ben James wrote about his experience with Sri Lankan Airlines, which required a credit card upon check-in after he had already lost the card the day before. (According to the Sri Lankan Airlines website , passengers may be required to “show their card” at check-in, although their website does not indicate when.) Meanwhile, according to the Emirates website , in some countries the “owner” of credit the card used to book a ticket or group of tickets must belong to one of the passengers on that route ”and present a credit card to receive a boarding pass.

With all this in mind, what if you accidentally lose your credit card right before your flight? Well, if you’re traveling domestically and through a major US airline, you probably wo n’t need to show your booking card, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check if you are traveling overseas. The easiest way to confirm this is to simply contact your airline and ask. And if you’re abroad and end up losing your wallet, it doesn’t hurt to have a 16-digit number on hand in case you’re asked to verify your card.


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