Paper Is Out, Cellphones Are In
By SUSAN STELLIN March 18, 2008
First came the kiosk, a strange addition to airport terminals when Continental Airlines began offering it as a check-in option in 1995. It was followed by Web check-in, introduced by Alaska Airlines in1999.
Now, with 80 percent of passengers using these self-service options, the next step is electronic boarding passes, which essentially turn the hand-held devices and mobile phones of travelers into their boarding passes.
At least half a dozen airlines in the United States currently allow customers to check in using their mobile devices, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest and Alaska.
But so far, Continental is the only carrier in the United States to begin testing the electronic passes, allowing those travelers to pass through security and board the plane without handling a piece of paper. Their boarding pass is an image of an encrypted bar code displayed on the phone's screen, which can be scanned by gate agents and security personnel.
When using the other airlines' mobile check-in services, customers still have to print a boarding pass at an airport kiosk, though most carriers are eager to eliminate this step once the Transportation Security Administration gives its approval.
The agency has been working with Continental since December to test electronic boarding passes, which for now can be used only for nonstop domestic flights out of the Houston hub of Continental.
...***** Moderator's Note *****
This seems overly complicated to me: why don't they just scan the RFID token I had implanted under my skin?
Bill Horne Temporary Moderator
(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)