The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Continental Airlines are expanding their paperless boarding pass pilot program at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
The program allows passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which are then scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint. The need for a paper boarding pass is eliminated.
Each paperless boarding pass displays a two-dimensional tamper-proof 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 pass sent to Continental passengers. The new technology heightens the ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes while improving customer service and reducing paper use.
The 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 is the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes and now offers the service at 21 airports.
Continental and the TSA recently agreed to expand the airline’s pilot paperless boarding pass program at San Diego International Airport.
“Today more than two-thirds of our customers check in for their flights prior to arriving at the airport,” says Jared Miller, Continental’s senior director of customer self-service. “Our innovative mobile boarding pass product is the type of self service technology that our customers have told us has value ― it saves them time and allows them to take more control of their travel experience.”
The TSA paperless boarding pass pilot is currently operating at 30 airports, including San Francisco. The pilot is consistent with the global standard of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for bar-coding of passenger boarding passes. The TSA says it will continue expanding the use of electronic boarding pass scanners at the pace of participating airlines.