Airlines look at mobile phone boarding passes

Soon there will be no escape.....

Martin


//www.computing.co.uk/2164144

Electronic barcodes to replace magnetic strip boarding passes by 2010 Dave Friedlos, Computing, 14 Sep 2006 BA planes

By 2010 UK airline passengers could be checking in and boarding flights using an electronic barcode transmitted to their mobile phone, industry experts predict.

Airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are considering mobile technology as an alternative to traditional magnetic strip-based boarding passes.

International Air Transport Association (Iata) spokesman Eric Leopold says barcode boarding passes, both printed and on mobile phones, will replace magnetic strip-based boarding passes.

‘We believe some UK airlines will have mobile phone check-in capability by 2008, and magnetic strip boarding passes will be replaced by 2010,’ he said.

‘The biggest challenge is installing infrastructure capable of detecting a barcode.’

The technology is already in place at some international airports. At Tokyo and Peking, passengers register their fingerprint for security purposes and a barcode acting as the boarding pass is sent directly to their phone.

However, some airlines are sceptical about the practicalities.

‘Mobile phone check-in is something we are interested in, particularly as the majority of passengers have access to a mobile phone,’ said a BA spokeswoman. ‘However, a few issues need to be resolved, such as standardisation of mobile phone technology.’

Virgin Atlantic ecommerce project manager Lisa Rogers says the airline is also looking into mobile boarding passes, but has no firm plans to implement it.

Ryanair IT director Brona Kernan doubts the technology will be widely adopted in the UK.

‘Mobile phone check-in is more convenient for passengers but not for airlines,’ she said. ‘All we would be removing is a paper ticket that the passenger prints themselves anyway.’

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