Barcode boarding is really taking off, with Qantas becoming the latest airline to launch mobile phone based check-in services. barcode_board_01 Barcode based check-in. Image courtesy of USA Today From early next year, any domestic Qantas passenger who checks in and selects their seat online prior to departure can request a 2D …
Over the top
What's the point of the Barcode. Finnair for one has had SMS-based check-in for years without the need to limit the service to phones that can display 2D barcodes. User ID + the SMS is enough. 2D barcodes Sound like a case of over design and limiting of user base.
Air Canada has been using this for over a year...
...as far as I know, you can use it for any domestic Air Canada flights. All of the major airports, at any rate: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Halifax, etc. It's been quite handy. Too bad they won't let us use it on US-bound flights.
Over the top indeed - why need a token at all?
As ze said, this is over the top. I don't actually see the need for any special single-use user token at all in almost all cases. For international flights you have to provide ID when booking the flight these days anyway. And most people use a credit card even for domestic flights. So just show up with your passport or credit card and they check you in. Several airlines do this already, actually.
I suppose this would be useful for people who book flights for which they don't need to provide ID, and pay with cash - that's a lot of people...
BMI do this
I travelled from Edinburgh to London yesterday on BMI with one of these "boarding passes".
It's a bit bizarre, actually: at security, and at the gate, they put the barcode under their scanner to validate it. When you get on the plane itself, the steward(ess) wants to do a visual inspection of the barcode (as well as the text part of the message). What (s)he hopes to learn from that, I'm not sure.
As Adam says, above, though, it does seem a solution in search of a problem. Tying my boarding to a plastic card already in my wallet would be soooo much easier.
It's not about the check-in process, it's all about boarding the plane. QANTAS has had online check-in for domestic flights for ages, the usual stuff that a lot of airlines have: check-in, seat selection, baggage advice and the like. Once checked-in you then got a boarding pass either from the airport or printed at home (again, nothing cutting edge). It is the boarding pass ("single user token" if you like) that is scanned to positively verify that the checked-in pax boarded the plane. This process is, I understand, an IATA requirement and it is for this purpose that the barcode-on-a-screen will be used.
Continental Airlines already does IT
Continental has been doing the cell phone check it for a few months now and no need to scan.
Tech looking for a solution
I have one of the 2d bar code scanners. Its a technology looking for a solution. I'm guessing it takes about twice as long to get a good read as the paper scanners that Qantas already uses. The things only work with a fraction of new phones with the glossy ones being the worst. Its also going to cost $.20 at least for Qantas to send the MMS message if they get the super discount rate and the failure rate for sending those tends to be in the 5% range depending on the carrier. Getting a hundred+ people to find a specific message on their phone will be fun. Telstra has been pushing these 2d bar codes since they have to appear to be doing something technological to their stock holders. There is no where for this project to go except down.
Telephone checkin ? It's almost like the 1980s again.
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