back to article Heathrow Express treats iPhones as tickets

Travellers on the Heathrow Express can now use their iPhones as tickets. Hex's new app, announced today and available here, provides the usual pay-by-card ticket booking, but here your purchase yields an on-screen barcode the ticket inspector can scan when you travel. Heathrow Express app It's the first app of its kind in the …

COMMENTS

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Silver badge

Good idea

But I'd expect it to be cheaper then - as it stands, it's identical to the (already) outrageously expensive prices at the ticket booth, and onboard (apparently a £5 surcharge exists which I've never been charged). I loathe the Heathrow Express - if there's more than one of you, it's almost better to just book a mini-cab local to where you live.

BA's app on the other hand is rather good. When you say Executive Club membership is required, it's free to join and hardly exclusive as the name suggests. The arse of it is in the airports that don't accept it, as you point out, but not surprising as they're well outside BA's control - I'm impressed they've managed to influence so many airports already.

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KLM

KLM have been doing this for ages - check in online, get your boarding pass sent straight to your phone. Works great.

The only problem is that if you're a Gold or Platinum frequent flyer but not travelling First or Business class, you're still allowed to use the priority lanes at passport control, but there's nothing in the electronic boarding pass that tells this to the Group4 Rent-a-drones guarding the gate. It just says "Class M" or "Economy".

So unless you ask for a printed pass as well (which *does* have your FF status on it), 9 times out of 10 they'll send you to the back of the cattle queue anyway.

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Platinum card holder?

Why don't you flash your card then? Works for me.

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Anonymous Coward

not new

I've been getting my ticket txt messaged to me with one of those barcode thingies for over 2 years on the Wrexham and Shropshire service, no need for an app either as I had a crappy SE phone. So not exactly ground breaking.

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Pint

I've done this before to fly

I got an MMS with a barcode in it, which I then used as a boarding pass onto a BMI plane out of manchester.

Works with any phone.

Like so.

http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2008/05/bmi_ditches_paper_plane_tickets_for_mms.html

It might not be a a dedicated app, but its more than good enough. Yet people will swallow the 'first of its kind ..' press release.

Bah, humbug.

Need beer.

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

Which is nice...

until your confronted by a jobsworth who will not accept your bar-code unless it's printed on a piece of easily losable paper.

I have been in many situations where I have had to find a way to print my email which is nice and easily accessible on my phone, just so that some one can scan the bloody bar-code on it

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Pint

Thats true

When I was travelling with one of these, I had a full on argument with a girl in one of the airport shops. She demanded to see my boarding pass, I showed her the barcode on my phone.

She got very stroppy and started calling me names, saying that this wasn't a boarding pass, and if I wanted to buy anything I needed to show it to her. Wierdo.

I stood in front of her and said nothing for a bit, then she gave in and served me, minus boarding pass.

Not sure what went on really, but the point is that yes, they can get you on the plane, but also jobsworths exist....

Ever the world was thus.

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Lufthansa offer mobile boarding passes too!

Lufthansa have been offering mobile boarding passes for at least the last 5 years by my experience: http://www.lufthansa.com/uk/en/Mobile-Boarding-Pass-available-on-many-routes-worldwide

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Jobs Halo

Lies!

That's unpossible! The iPhone wasn't even released 5 years ago!

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Battery Life.

Nuff said.

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FAIL

iPhone Battery

I'm sorry inspector, my battery died. I do have a ticket, honest!

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Silver badge

Not much point, is there?

Neither Paddington Station nor Heathrow suffer from shortage of ticket terminals. It takes about 20sec to buy a ticket, plus, if you're afraid to miss a train you buy the ticket on-board. So, unless you just want to show off your iPhone, what really is the benefit? After all you still have to carry your credit card with you, right? So, is the process of taking it out of the wallet somehow less energy-efficient than taking your iPhone out the your pocket (or wherever you keep it)?

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FAIL

Idea predates the ibone by several years.

Not new at all. Don't even need an app. You can receive your boarding pass as email or MMS on several airlines. Have been able to for years. Even my dodgy old Centro and a dumb Nokia before that.

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Air NZ too

Air NZ has had their "mPass" app for a few years now.

Unfortunately, you can only use it as your boarding pass for domestic travel, but if you don't have checked baggage then you can go directly to the gate and have no contact with anyone until you board.

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FAIL

barcode

Someone please tell me I wasn't the only person to try scanning the barcode in this story with the barcode app on my HTC Desire!

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Joke

Correct...

...you were indeed the only person scanning with your phone. HTH, HAND, etc.,...

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Dead Vulture

News because it's an app?

I'm sorry El Reg, but this story is utter tripe.

As all the commenters above have noted, this is tech that has been in frequent use around the world for years. Finnair has offered SMS boarding for years and Lufthansa, KLM and others have offered 2D bar codes on ALL mobiles using THE INTERNET rather than some Jobsian-controlled binary interface to a subset of smartphones.

Maybe other airlines are not releasing boarding pass apps because THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE . it's called a browser.

The only innovation I see here could be the ability to buy the ticket while on the go, but any detail on that real news seems to have been cut in favour of Cupertino eye candy.

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Silver badge

Re: News because it's an app?

I agree - and curiously, even the Register article notes that this is nothing new, being available on all other phones already. Was there an article for that? Apple phones only need a special version because it can't even support Java.

Nice to see Heathrow Express catering for the majority first - it's depressing that so many companies seem keen to cater only for a few per cent of Apple users, ignoring the majority of phone users (e.g., Symbian, Java phones).

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Silver badge
Jobs Horns

Re: Re: News because it's an app?

"Apple phones only need a special version because it can't even support Java."

And don't forget their support for the GSM MMS standard was somewhat flakey so the old method used for many years of sending a picture message couldn't be relied on. No idea if they've fixed that yet, but still wouldn't want to rely on it.

Yet another app which provides nothing new. As usual I suspect it's just a disguised browser window.

I wish I knew why all these companies are so keen to jump on the iphone app band wagon. The figures of iphone dominance are USA only, and even there Android is starting to stomp. On the rest of the planet the huge elephant in the room is still Symbian, and even more phone support Java.

The really stupid thing about the Heathrow express "apping" it is their target audience... Iphones are mainly owned by the young and sheep-like... I suspect Heathrow express customers are from a completely different demographic.

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Boffin

How to piss off your passengers

1. Call them "customers"

2. Feed them an Android app that can't be relocated to the SD card. Otherwise they might believe you understand about this technology whatchamacallem

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Thumb Down

I tried using the TescoClubCard one

and was told at the petrol station that it didn't work, then went inside the main store to shop and was told the same there. Waste of time and money (although it was free).

But I heard easyJet are doing theirs now in this form and it seems to be working fine.

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