Home Don’t Leave Home Without a Charged Cell Phone

Don’t Leave Home Without a Charged Cell Phone

If you’re flying out of Los Angeles or Orange County airports next week, make sure your mobile phone is charged and ready to go – especially if you’ve purchased a new mobile boarding pass from American Airlines.

AA, following in the footsteps of Continental and Delta Airlines, last week announced the option to have your boarding pass sent directly to your mobile phone or PDA, in an attempt to save paper and money, and speed things up for travelers.

The new boarding passes are available for domestic outbound flights from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Airport Guide, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Airport and John Wayne Airport (SNA), Orange County, California.

While the technology is still relatively new, AA is not the first U.S. carrier to offer this service. Continental Airlines started testing it in late 2007, and were quickly followed by Northwest, Delta and Alaska Airlines. The AA trial will raise the total to five airlines over 13 airports.

How the Mobile Boarding Pass Works

After checking in online – aa.com or aa.com mobile – a link to an image of a two dimensional barcode will be e-mailed to you. Once saved, all you need to do is recall the barcode, and display it when you arrive at security – and voila; an easy, fast, and paperless way to get on a plane.

The trial will be extended to more cities and with more options if it proven successful at these high traffic airports.

Current Restrictions with Mobile Boarding Passes

In their current form, the mobile boarding passes have certain limitations: if you don’t return from one of the three airports you still need a traditional boarding pass on your way home and travelers can only list one person on their reservations.

Clearly this new system could bring up an entirely new set of security issues once the creative bad guys start taking an interest, although The Chicago Tribune suggests that the mobile boarding passes offer an additional layer of security as they are scanned twice whereas paper boarding passes are only scanned once. In addition, the system has been tested and approved by the Transportation Security Administration, and includes encryption technology to guard against forgeries.

While we have written about Web technology trends and our hopes and expectations when it comes to mobile Web services, the question remains whether the mobile phones and wireless signals of today are efficient enough to cope with the new technology.

Our advice? Make sure your battery is fully charged before heading off to the airport.

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