American Airlines introduces mobile boarding passes

Though nearly the entire pre-flight process has been tweaked to make use of modern technologies, one outdated aspect still lingers: the tickets. Every single time I fly, I find myself checking the location where I put my tickets once every 3-4 minutes. Are they still there? Did I remember to zip up after I last checked? When I pulled my hand out, did the ticket sneak out? I’ve never lost a ticket, yet I consistently fear that I will. It’s just such an abnormal thing in our daily lives – when else are we given something to hang on to for a few hours that is so easy to lose or destroy, yet so significant in the success of our plans? Lose that ticket, and there’s a good chance queues and regulations might just make you miss your flight. Miss your flight, and you’ll be making up for it your entire trip.

Fortunately, the times are changing. As handset displays grow to higher and higher resolutions, functionality generally limited to ink and paper becomes possible. Scannable barcodes can easily be printed onto just about any device made within the last few years, opening the door to ticketless boarding via your cell phone’s display.

Continental was the first in the US to embrace this concept, back in May of this year. Now American Airlines has hopped on board with the launch of their Mobile Boarding Passes program. If you’re flying out of Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), or Orange County (SNA), you’re given the option to send a digital boarding pass to your cell phone via e-mail. The boarding pass contains a QR-code-ish bar code – security will scan this, and you’re on your way. Just remember to juice up your phone before heading to the airport!