Wednesday, December 10, 2008

May I see your papers please?

Last week I flew out of ORD...on time no less.

Big deal, you say, so do 77 Million other people a year (though of course they don;t all leave on time)!

And this would be no special trip (they all are) except that I flew out after using an electronic boarding pass on my mobile device.

American Airlines launched a mobile boarding pass application the week of 11/23 that enables travellers originating out of OHare, LAX and LGA to download a boarding pass to their mobile device (full details here).

The way it works is that you recieve a message on your mobile device. The message enables you to download a data matrix image (A GS1 data matrix I beleive. see below). At the airport security screening station, you hold your mobile device screen over a scanner. The image you downloaded is scanned and confirms you as, if not trustworthy, at least in possession of a valid boarding pass. The TSA agent still wants to see your id of course, but no obscure symbols are marked on your device screen.

At the gate, you hold your mobile phone in front of the scanner that the gate agent uses for those possessing paper passes and...voila...aboard you go.

Boarding passes are small pieces of paper...which is precisely why the mobile device presents an advantage. No small piece of paper to misplace. Not world changing, but an incremental improvement that foreshadows completely electronic identification.

Why not a driver's license on my device? Or a passport? Based on a biometric key like retina scan or fingerprint, it would certainly seem at least as secure as our current paper-based approaches.

Here's my pass

No comments:

Post a Comment