When you're headed somewhere on an airplane, one of the first steps in getting to your destination is obtaining a boarding pass. Without one, you won't be able to pass through security at the airport -- and you certainly won't be able to board the plane. If you're flying on Delta Air Lines, you have some options for how to get your boarding pass. Some of these options can make your check-in process go much smoother.

Receiving Your Boarding Pass for a Delta Airlines flight

1. Online Check-In

Navigate to Delta's "Online Check-in" web page on delta.com from your home computer as far in advance as 24 hours to as little as 30 minutes before your flight. You can select “Check-in” in the header or go to the “My Trips” tab. Enter your SkyMiles, credit card number or flight confirmation number, and click "Search" to look up your itinerary. Follow the online prompts to check in and print your boarding pass.

2. Self-Service

Find a Delta airport kiosk in the terminal if you were not able to print your boarding pass from home. Enter your name and then your credit or debit card, SkyMiles number, e-ticket number or confirmation number when prompted. Then select your flight from the itineraries displayed. The kiosk will print your boarding pass.

3. Delta Airlines Check-In Counter

Wait in line at the Delta check-in counter if you were not able to print your boarding pass any other way. Provide your identification and flight information to the check-in agent, who will then give you a boarding pass. If the airport has curbside service, you also may be able to check in and get your boarding pass from a Delta skycap.

4. Mobile Check-In

If you have a mobile device, you can also load the Delta mobile app, ‌the fly Delta app‌, which allows you to check in right from that device. As of publication, the service is available only at select airports, so check Delta's "Check-in Options" page to find out if this option is available to you. For this option, your boarding pass will be an "eBoarding pass," which you'll have to display from your mobile device when you get to the airport. Mobile boarding passes are often very convenient, as there is a feature that allows you to download these boarding passes directly to the Apple Wallet app on your smartphone. Unlike print boarding passes, you cannot lose a mobile boarding pass.

If you regularly fly with Delta, it is a good idea to download the fly Delta app. Beyond allowing you to check-in and get your boarding pass ahead of your arrival at the airport, the app also sends you notifications of any updates regarding your upcoming flight. Information like flight status, seating (whether you’re first-class or economy), membership info (premium select, medallion, etc.) and scheduled departure time are all available through this app.

If you are able to check in and receive your delta boarding pass beforehand, the only other reason you would need to go to the check-in counter would be if you have bags to check. If you only have carry-on bags, you shouldn’t need to go to the check-in desk, assuming you have already checked in and gotten your boarding pass. Checked bags, however, require you to go to a luggage drop-off counter, which are typically right by the check-in desks.