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A boarding pass is a document provided by an airline during check-in, giving a passenger permission to board the airplane for a particular flight. As a minimum, it identifies the passenger, the flight number, and the date and scheduled time for departure. In some cases, flyers can check in online and print the boarding passes themselves.
Generally a passenger with an electronic ticket will only need a boarding pass. If a passenger has a paper airline ticket, that ticket (or flight coupon) may be required to be attached to the boarding pass for him or her to board the aircraft. The paper boarding pass (and ticket, if any), or portions, are sometimes collected and counted for cross-check of passenger counts by gate agents, but more frequently are scanned (via barcode or magnetic stripe). The standards for bar codes and magnetic stripes on boarding passes are published by IATA. The bar code standard (BCBP) defines the 2D bar code printed on paper boarding passes or sent to mobile phones for electronic boarding passes. The magnetic stripe standard (ATB2) expired in 2010. For "connecting flights" there will be a boarding pass needed for each new flight (distinguished by a different flight number) regardless of whether a different aircraft is boarded.
Most airports and airlines have automatic readers that will verify the validity of the boarding pass at the jetway door or boarding gate. This also automatically updates the airline's database that shows the passenger has boarded and the seat is used, and that the checked baggage for that passenger may stay aboard. This speeds up the paperwork process at the gate, but requires passengers with paper tickets to check in, surrender the ticket and receive the digitized boarding pass.
Mobile boarding passes
Many airlines have moved to issuing electronic boarding passes, whereby the passenger checks in either online or on a mobile device, and the boarding pass is then sent to the mobile device as a SMS or e-mail. Upon completing an online reservation, client can tick a box offering for a mobile boarding pass. Most carriers offer two ways to get it: have one sent to mobile device (via e-mail or text message) when check in online, or use an airline app to check in and the boarding pass will appear within the application.
The mobile pass is equipped with the same bar code that a standard paper boarding pass would be, and it is completely machine readable. The gate attendant simply scans the code displayed on the phone.
Airlines on board
In 2007 Continental Airlines (now United) was the first started testing Mobile boarding passes. Now most of the major carriers offer mobile boarding passes at many airports.
Airlines that issue electronic boarding passes include Qatar Airways, Air India, United Airlines, AirAsia (The first airline to introduce SMS boarding passes), Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, WestJet (the first in North America to do so), Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Iberia, US Airways, KLM (selected destinations only), Aer Lingus, Turkish Airlines and Qantas (domestic market).
- Practical : Travelers don’t always have access to a printer, so choosing a mobile boarding pass eliminates the hassle of stopping at a kiosk at the airport.
- Safe: The Transportation Security Administration, the federal agency that oversees security for airports, appreciates the electronic boarding passes, because the two-dimensional bar codes are harder to forge than the one-dimensional bar codes that are used today on many tickets printed online.[not in citation given]
- Ecological: It is also much more environmentally friendly than constantly using up paper for boarding passes.
There is a risk with mobile boarding if the phone’s battery dies or there are any problems reading the e-boarding pass. Using a mobile boarding pass can also be a challenge when traveling with multiple people in one reservation because not all airline apps handle multiple mobile boarding passes. Some airlines, like Alaska Airlines, do allow you to switch between multiple boarding passes within their apps.
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