Continental Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are expanding a pilot program at San Diego International Airport that uses paperless boarding passes.
The program allow passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs. These are then scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint and they eliminate the need for paper boarding passes.
Each paperless boarding pass displays a two-dimensional bar code along with passenger and flight information that identifies the traveler. TSA travel document checkers use scanners to validate the authenticity of the paperless boarding passes sent to Continental passengers. The TSA says the new technology heightens the ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes while improving customer service and reducing paper use.
TSA created the concept of how to scan the paperless boarding passes and Continental Airlines developed an implementation plan that involved encrypting the paperless boarding pass to ensure authenticity. Continental was the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes and now offers the service at 18 airports.
The TSA paperless boarding pass pilot is currently operating at 22 airports including San Diego. The pilot is consistent with the global standard of the International Air Transport Association for bar coding of passenger boarding passes. TSA will continue to expand the use of electronic boarding pass scanners at the pace of participating airlines.