Tuesday AM May 19th, 2009

Houston is among a growing number of airports allowing mobile phone check-in. Ed Mayberry reports.


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mobile phone boarding passesYour cell phone can also be your boarding pass. Continental Airlines passengers in Houston are now able to board domestic flights using just cell phones or PDAs intead of a regular boarding pass, in a test program that could expand to airlines and airports nationwide. Rob Borucki is with NCR, which markets the technology.

“The security processes are the same for mobile Web as they are for regular Web. Just imagine it as a miniaturized version of a regular Web site. And the big plus is that you don’t have to have a printer—I mean, that’s really the big convenience—and then not have to worry about rushing to the airport early to stand in line somewhere and print out a boarding pass. You have it on your phone as you check in, ready to go, and you just show it and go.”

Borucki says a TSA screener will confirm the bar code’s authenticity with a handheld scanner. Currently, the option is available if only one customer is listed on the reservation.

“And you’ll step through the Web check-in process on your mobile phone’s browser, just like you would as if you were sitting in front of a computer. And when you get to the boarding pass page, instead of printing out a boarding pass on a printer that’s attached to your computer, you’ll just see the boarding pass on your phone with a bar code, and you take that phone with the bar code to the airport, and as long as it’s a participating airport, you can scan it at the security checkpoint, then go on to your gate. And when it’s time to get on the plane, you scan it again at the gate door, and you’re on your way.”

A two-dimensional bar code consisting of squares and rectangles stores the passenger’s name and flight information. Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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