Friday, December 7, 2007

Boarding Pass On Your Mobile Phone

The TSA recently gave the go-ahead for a pilot program in Houston, sponsored by Continental Airlines, to offer travelers the ability to flash a barcode on their cell phone to board a plane. The new boarding pass takes the place of the paper slips now used by carriers and promises to speed your boarding time -- eliminating a stop at the ticket counter or carrier's kiosk.

For much of the past decade, boarding passes have used barcodes. Seemingly random bits of black and white that a scanner reads and identifies with your seat, flight number, travel date and name. Matching this information with your ID then ensures you paid for a particular seat on the plane. The mobile phone simply replicates that barcode on-screen and replaces a printed barcode.

Those flying from Contintental's hub city will still need a boarding pass -- for their return flight home.

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