Innovation – Mobile Phone Boarding Passes

With mobile phone based boarding passes, it feels like part of the future is finally here. Rather than printing out a boarding pass you can simply download it on your phone and display it during the boarding process. Having now used it a few times now, here are my observations.

  1. This seems to have potential to delay the boarding process. Often when you come up to check in your phone is either locked or doing something else, and navigating back to the relevant email and downloading the image all takes quite a while, especially when you have a long line of people behind you.
  2. Because of the potential for social embarrassment from point 1. above you try to ensure that your phone is clearly displaying the pass well before you need it, but this makes it impossible to do other things on your phone while you’re waiting in line for airport security, so that wait becomes more tedious.
  3. The barcode on the pass is supposed to be electronically scanned, this is hard to get right and requires a few attempts each time I’ve seen it done, again slowing the boarding process.
  4. Finally, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do when your phone battery dies.

So though I was excited about this idea, I’m not sure I’ll use it much.

source: Simon Aughton (via Flickr)

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