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Use Your Mobile as Your Boarding Pass

Posted on 3.26.2008

Continental Airlines is testing a system that allows airline passengers to use their mobile devices as their boarding passes, instead of printing a paper pass. The system uses a two-dimensional encrypted bar code, rather than the standard one-dimensional bar code. The former is more secure, which should pave the way for the T.S.A. to approve the technology. The bar code is displayed on a mobile screen, which an airport security employee can then scan. The tow-dimensional code apparently is much harder to manipulate and any changes are more easily recognized by the scanning devices.

Example of a two-dimensional bar code

“We definitely see this as the wave of the future,” said Andrea McCauley, a T.S.A. spokeswoman. “It’s something we are very enthusiastic about pursuing.”

It's still a work in progress, but this is exactly the type of technology that the mobile industry hopes will fulfill its expectations.

Currently, passenger on American, Delta, Northwest, Southwest and Alaska Airlines can check in via mobile, but still require printing a paper boarding pass.

A couple of user comments:

Ravana says: Continental allows you to do this (as long as you are not flying into DCA). Lot better than having to keep track of where I put it, cuz I always know where my cell is.

Keh says: I tried this a month ago. and, yes, the security people needed to see a paper pass. And then the scanning machines couldn't read the screen off my blackberry pearl, so had to resort to the paper pass there too.

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