The Future Of... Boarding Passes
May 28, 2009, 4:28pm PDT | Length: 00:02:55
Fed up with long check-in lines before you fly? Tired of trying to remember where you tucked away your boarding pass? SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das explains how paperless mobile boarding could help solve these problems and speed you through the airport.
>> Ah, the joys of travel. Baggage fees, flight delays, secondary screening, and of course, trying to keep track of your boarding pass throughout it all. But there's hope for frustrated flyers. A smarter way to board is waiting in the wings. In the future you can put away the paper and whip out your cell phone.
>> The key to paperless mobile boarding is this, a 2 dimensional bar code; it was created by the International Air Transport Association and a committee of airlines to enable bar coded boarding passes, a cheaper, more efficient alternative to magnetic stripe technology. Barcoded boarding passes can be printed at home. The 2D barcode can also be sent to a mobile phone or PDA, opening the door for paperless boarding. Passengers would submit their mobile numbers when booking their flight. Then before check in the airline would send a mobile boarding pass by email or text. At security and at the boarding gate the barcode is scanned on the display. Passengers could check in anywhere they have Internet access. No need to hunt down a printer. And if they're not checking bags, passengers can head straight to security. Other benefits, it's one less thing to keep track of. And the 2D barcode can store information for multiple legs. So even if it takes 3 flights to reach your destination, you only need 1 mobile boarding pass. So what if your phone dies or there's some other snafu? Boarding passes can always be printed at self-service kiosks. To prevent misuse and insure the traveler is using a boarding pass issued to them, not someone else, the barcode incorporates near military grade encryption. The Transportation Security Administration says the technology increases its ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes. The administration plans to expand the program in the near future. Mobile boarding testing began in 2007 and is now offered at 18 airports in the U.S. by 5 airlines. With passengers needing to save time, airports and the government eager to bolster security, paperless boarding may take off before long. For Smart Planet I'm Cindy Doss. phonetic
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