back to article Flying United Airlines? If you could just scan your passport with your phone, that'd be great

United Airlines is testing a passport-scanning feature in its phone app that could speed up the check-in process for international flights. The biz's iOS and Android software will allow passengers to upload an image of their passports within 24 hours of their departure and access their boarding pass. United said the system is …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Why not

    Just forget about passports (and the annual 3month delay because the passport office forget there is extra summer demand and/or go on strike and/or install a new computer system ) and just use your facebook login?

    It is more secure than a passport and facebook has more of your details than the passport agency

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not

      Perhaps you've never looked at the range of (visible, never mind hidden) security features in a modern passport? They're a bit more thorough than checking that you can type "passw0rd123" correctly.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Why not

        But there is no point to all the security and biometric features if the only guarantee that the applicant is who they say they are is your neighbour signing the back of one of your pictures.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Why not

      "just use your facebook login?

      Don't joke, the UK government floated the idea of using Facebook accounts as official ID for accessing public services.

      Exclusive - Facebook and other social networks could be used by British citizens to sign into public services online


  2. Tom Chiverton 1

    "That is not to say, however, that you can now leave your paper passport at home. The phone image will not pass for TSA identification "

    So what exactly is the point ?

    1. DougS Silver badge


      Automated check-in, so you don't have to arrive earlier than you otherwise would to stand in line and show your passport to an agent. Waiting in line just to see an agent, give them your passport for a three second check while they type randomly before issuing you a paper ticket is a big waste of time.

      Nothing United can do about the TSA's processes, but even if you could skip the passport step there it wouldn't speed that up by more than a couple seconds.

      1. Brenda McViking

        Re: RFTM

        It's no different from mobile boarding passes, from providing advance travel information like we do with budget airlines here in the UK to speed up check-in.

        A typical international flight experience: Queue for check in. sometimes then separate queue for bag drop. Queue for departure police check (often not present in the UK). Queue for baggage scanning. Queue for full cavity search. Queue for overpriced food, no-tax-but-doubly-marked-up shopping or airport lounge if you're so lucky. Stand around (maybe even in a queue) looking at departure board wondering why it still hasn't opened the gate yet despite that fact you were due to take off 10 minutes ago. Queue at gate. Queue for boarding pass scan at gate. Queue for airport security/G4S guy who glares at you, glares at your passport, glares back at you and waves you on. Queue for the bus. Cram yourself into the the last available space. Queue to get off the bus. Queue at the aircraft steps. Queue on the aisle waiting for the lady in seat 3B to unpack and repack her 3 bags of hand luggage looking for her flight pillow. Sit down. Fly. Queue for the toilet. Fly. Queue to be let off. Queue for the bus. Queue for immigration. Queue for baggage that doesn't turn up. Queue for baggage handling services to provide details of lost baggage. Queue at customs. Queue for the only atm in the arrivals area. Queue for a taxi/ train/hire car to get out. Queue for Psychatrist to check you haven't gone completely mad.

        So yeah. completing any international travel qualifies you for your level 6 queuing proficiency at "Expert" level. - absolutely anything that avoids any queuing for any length of time is something I'm interested in.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: RFTM

          Air travel is a truly miserable experience these days. I would never fly again if I had the choice.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          @Brenda McViking

          I thought all Brits are born with level 6 queuing proficiency?

        3. Dr Paul Taylor

          Re: RFTM

          Excellent description, Brenda! Some airlines let you pay extra to jump one of the queues, except that it is not the one that actually lets you sit down in your chosen seat on the plane any quicker. It may just let you get on the transfer bus first and therefore off it last.

      2. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: RFTM

        You can already check-in online and go directly to the gate area (with hand luggage). You can even drop suitcases off the day before.

        None of this needs a photo of a (my ?) passport to be taken by anyone.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: RFTM

          You can already check-in online and go directly to the gate area (with hand luggage).

          Often you can't, with international flights departing from the US. This may depend on carrier and airport, but I haven't seen online check-in available for any of my international flights.

          That said, it's not an issue for me, because I'm always checking baggage when I fly internationally (and for most domestic flights; I refuse to be one of those road-warrior types fighting over the luggage bins), and I fly out of a regional airport where the queues are typically no more than two or three long. Often I can walk right up to the desk, check in, walk over to TSA, hand over my luggage, and then go right through security with no wait at all.

          Did I mention my airport also has ample seating, lots of electrical outlets available to passengers, and free wi-fi?

          The food still isn't much good, but you can't have everything.

  3. Herby Silver badge

    What could possibly go wrong?

    "So absolutely nothing to worry about there." So, fast forward to:

    Data breach at security firm Jumio and the bad guys get all that nice passport information to sell to nefarious third parties (take your pick). For a couple of $$, one could get wonderful "clean" documents.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

    I note that there was a recent news story here in sillycon valley where some lady (more than once) got by TSA screening, and walked onto a plane.

  4. Simon Jones [MSDL]

    Spelling - Again

    That piece of paper on which you used to write the details of a monetary transaction to be actioned by your bank was called a CHEQUE.

  5. JJKing Silver badge

    @Brenda McViking

    I tried to jump the queues but I was told, far queue, go and stand in that one.

    hat, coat........leaving.......

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