Guide to Cebu Pacific Web Check-In, Express Check-In and Regular Check-In
When I used Cebu Pacific last week for my Bangkok flight, I discovered there are 3 ways of checking-in for an international flight at Terminal 3 of the Manila International Airpot:
This is the online check-in option of Cebu Pacific.
To be able to use this process, you need to use the online seat selector and purchase a seat. Without choosing and paying for a seat, you cannot use this option.
New! My update as of April 20, 2013: Web check-in is not available for domestic ATR flights. These are domestic routes using the small ATR planes. Cebu Pacific utilizes the ATR planes in 22 destinations like Caticlan, Laoag, Busuanga, Naga, Dipolog, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, etc, Better check your printed itinerary or ask the customer service if you're using an ATR plane
New! My update as of November 2, 2011: Cebu Pacific now allows web check-in from 48 hours until 4 hours before departure, whether or not you selected seats upon booking. Upon checking-in online, you are pre-assigned a seat and you can print your boarding pass. If you are a passenger on a domestic flight without checked baggage, you can go straight to the boarding gate when you arrive at the airport. For other cases, you still need to go to the web check-in counter for verification of documents and dropping off of baggage.
Advantage of choosing web check-in:
1. You can still decide to choose your seat in advance up to 4 hours before departure, upon payment of a fee.
NOTE: if you don't want to pay a fee but wish to avail of the web check-in, don't change the pre-assigned seat during web check-in.
2. You can use the dedicated check-in counter for web check-in anytime, which means you can check in as early as you want and until before departure.
3. Your check-in time is reduced. The line at the web check-in is not very long since this feature is still not popularly used by Cebu Pacific passengers.
4. If you are a passenger on a domestic flight without checked baggage, you can go straight to the boarding gate when you arrive at the airport because you already have a printed boarding pass.
ON PRINTING YOUR BOARDING PASS AFTER WEB CHECK-IN
I get a lot of questions regarding this topic so I'm sharing my recent experience with it. When I did web check-in in my recent flight last August 2013, I discovered that you can only print your boarding pass at home only once, which is immediately after you check-in online. After you close the Cebu Pacific window in your computer, you can no longer retrieve your boarding pass. But this doesn't mean that you cannot use the web check-in counter at the airport. Just inform the person at the counter that you accomplished web check-in and ask for a boarding pass. Not being able to retrieve and print your boarding pass at home for an international flight does not greatly inconvenience the passenger since Cebu Pacific requires the passenger to still pass by the check-in counter (in this case, the web check-in counter), whether or not they have check-in luggage, for verification of documents such as passports and visas. You can't go straight to the gate even if you only have a carry-on luggage, unlike in the case of passengers on domestic flights.
This option is open to passengers who do not avail of web-check in but arrive at the airport more than 3 hours until 5 hours before the flight. The regular check-in counter dedicated for a specific flight is still closed at this time because it opens only 3 hours before the flight but Cebu Pacific encourages the passenger to check in this early so they provide this option to them.
Advantage of Express Check-In;
You can use any open check-in counter, regardless of flight or destination, including the web check-in counter of Cebu Pacific. This means you can check in at any of the 10 check-in counters that are usually open simultaneously. If you are on an international flight, you can check-in at any international check-in counter regardless of destination. This applies whether or not you have luggage to check-in. This means you have more counters to choose from
This option is open to passengers who arrive 3 hours or less before the flight. The check-in counter for your specific flight opens 3 hours before the flight. If you did not use the web-check-in option, you are only allowed to use the specific check in counters assigned to your flight, which usually is around 4 check-in counters. Expect lines to be long.
NOTE: the observation I made above applies only to terminal 3 of the Manila International Airport. Currently, there are only 2 airlines flying from this terminal.
At any other international airport, they do not allow check-in more than 3 hours before the flight. In other international airports only 4 check-in counters are allowed Cebu Pacific: 3 regular check-in counters and 1 web check-in counter. Because of this and the fact that you cannot check-in more than 3 hours before the flight, the lines for check-in will be very long. My advice if you are flying from an international airport other than Manila, use web check-in for that flight. The line at that web check-in counter is short.