How do boarding passes and seating on airline flights work nowadays?

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  • #1
yungman
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Hi

I have not been on the plane since 2006 since retirement, been doing cruising to avoid the security checks on the airport. I have to fly on vacation the first time. Obviously things have changed tremendously. Now everything is done on the phone. So far, I was told we can get the boarding pass on the phone and show it to them in the airport and it's good.

My issue is I don't put my true email on the phone, just my play email that I don't put anything of any importance. This is what I am thinking, I will have my laptop while I am on travel with my real email. I can get the boarding pass and seating with the laptop in the hotel. Then I send the boarding pass and everything to my phone to the play email of the phone. Now I can show the boarding pass on the phone in the airport.

Will this work? Any suggestion and anything I should know?

Thanks
 

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  • #2
Borg
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I don't do tickets the way that you're describing. You can print it out or go to the check-in counter at the entrance to the airport.
 
  • #3
jbriggs444
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The routine that I follow is to purchase the tickets online. One gets back a printable itinerary containing, among other things six character "locator codes", one for the flight there and one for the flight back.

At the airport near the ticket counter you will find kiosks. At the kiosk you can check in. One of the ways you can check in at the kiosk is using the locator code. [I think you can also check in by name. I've never tried that].

The kiosk will normally print your boarding pass. If you have luggage it will accept your credit card, allowing you to pay a luggage fee (typically around $25 per checked bag) and print out luggage tags. You apply the luggage tags to the bags you want to check, wait your turn and step up to the counter. They'll either take the bags at the counter (asking to see ID -- do not forget your drivers license) or direct you to an area where the bags are collected.

There is normally at least one airline employee loitering near the kiosks to provide assistance.

The kiosks are specific to the airline. If you try to check in for an American flight on a United kiosk, it will not be able to find your records. [Been there, done that, felt embarrassed]

If you have no bags to check, you can proceed directly from kiosk to security checkpoint with boarding pass in hand. You are allowed one "carry on" bag which must be small enough to fit in the overhead bins on the flight. You are also allowed one "personal item" such as a purse.

Check your boarding pass. On occasion (about 10% of the time in my experience) they may have bumped you into "TSA Pre" -- expedited passage through security.

The security line will first stop at a fellow who will ask for ID (driver's license) and boarding pass. He'll look you over, make a mark on your boarding pass and wave you on. He may also do a chemical whiff of your hands for explosives residue.

Next you get to the actual security checkpoint. You will need to remove shoes, belts, pretty much everything from your pockets, putting everything in rectangular plastic bins for passage through the X-Ray machine. Backpacks generally go through without a bin. Laptops go into a bin by themselves. If you have a CPAP, they'll sometimes ask to open the bag and look at it.

Your stuff will go through the X-Ray machine and you will go into a booth and raise your arms to be scanned. There is an outline on the wall illustrating the expected pose. They'll wave you on when finished.

You may be pulled aside and scanned further with a hand-held wand. Or asked to stand by while your items are hand-inspected. Neither event is anything to be particularly concerned about.

Collect your items from the belt. Seating is provided nearby to help reassemble yourself.

Go to the gate and wait for your flight. Around 30 minutes pre-flight, the desk at the gate will be manned. Around 15 minutes pre-flight they'll begin boarding.

Boarding is generally by "boarding group" which can be found on your boarding pass. Some airlines also have an organized standing area where each boarding group musters.

They'll announce each boarding group "Preferred", "Active duty military", "Families with small children", "Group 1", etc.

At the gate, your boarding pass will be scanned. If you have a boarding pass on your cell phone, that can be scanned there instead. You are passed into the boarding tunnel and all from that point is as you remember it.

Your seat assignment is typically printed on your boarding pass. Except Southwest where it is usually open seating.

That is my experience anyway.
 
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  • #4
BWV
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Be careful, an emailed boarding pass might not scan properly, either print a pass at a kiosk at the airport or download the app for the airline you are flying. The app will give you a scanable boarding pass. I usually then add the pass to Apple wallet so I am not reliant on an internet connection to retrieve it
 
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  • #5
vela
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Check your boarding pass. On occasion (about 10% of the time in my experience) they may have bumped you into "TSA Pre" -- expedited passage through security.
Really? I thought you have to sign up and pay for TSA Pre. I always think of this as a TSA scam to get people to fork up money to bypass the usual line.
 
  • #6
jbriggs444
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Really? I thought you have to sign up and pay for TSA Pre. I always think of this as a TSA scam to get people to fork up money to bypass the usual line.
Really. I've never signed up for TSA Pre. But I've had a boarding pass with TSA Pre on it two or three times and went through the TSA Pre line.

Putting my cynical hat on, it could be to give us a taste of the good life to increase sales of the privilege.

Or putting my practical hat on, it could be a semi-random chance to offload some folks from the normal lines.
 
  • #7
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Will this work?

The short answer is, I'm not sure. I travel a fair amount for work and I routinely have boarding passes on my phone, but I use the apps provided by the airlines (United is the one I fly most often). The app will let you do the whole process of check-in on your phone and will have a screen that shows your boarding pass; when you get to security and they check your ID they just put your phone on a little scanner that reads the bar code and that's it. (The airline does this again at the gate when you board the plane.)

I don't know how similar the boarding pass image in your email is to the one in the app, so I don't know how easily it will be scannable by the scanners at security (and by the airline at the gate).

The other option would be to print the boarding pass as others have described. This is probably going to be easier all things considered if you are not used to using the phone for your boarding pass.
 
  • #8
ZapperZ
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Hi

I have not been on the plane since 2006 since retirement, been doing cruising to avoid the security checks on the airport. I have to fly on vacation the first time. Obviously things have changed tremendously. Now everything is done on the phone. So far, I was told we can get the boarding pass on the phone and show it to them in the airport and it's good.

My issue is I don't put my true email on the phone, just my play email that I don't put anything of any importance. This is what I am thinking, I will have my laptop while I am on travel with my real email. I can get the boarding pass and seating with the laptop in the hotel. Then I send the boarding pass and everything to my phone to the play email of the phone. Now I can show the boarding pass on the phone in the airport.

Will this work? Any suggestion and anything I should know?

Thanks

I don't quite understand this. What does it mean that you don't "... put my true email on the phone..."? You have to register your phone to work with whatever OS that you are using, don't you? This requires a valid e-mail. So already you have put your "true e-mail on the phone".

Secondly, I get my boarding pass from the app from the airline, not via e-mail. I get my Southwest boarding pass when I use Southwest app, etc...etc. So unless you want a useless app that doesn't connect to your account, you have to register yourself using the app to get all the features that come with the app.

Zz.
 
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  • #9
russ_watters
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My issue is I don't put my true email on the phone, just my play email that I don't put anything of any importance. This is what I am thinking, I will have my laptop while I am on travel with my real email. I can get the boarding pass and seating with the laptop in the hotel. Then I send the boarding pass and everything to my phone to the play email of the phone. Now I can show the boarding pass on the phone in the airport.

Will this work? Any suggestion and anything I should know?
It will, but a few things:
1. You can have the boarding pass sent to any email, so why not just send it to the "play" email?
2. The actual boarding pass is just a mobile formatted webpage with a qr code for scanning. I suspect you could open it on your laptop, take a screenshot, and copy the photo to your phone with a USB cable...if you don't do #1...
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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I don't quite understand this. What does it mean that you don't "... put my true email on the phone..."? You have to register your phone to work with whatever OS that you are using, don't you? This requires a valid e-mail. So already you have put your "true e-mail on the phone".
Well, not quite;
-Having email addresses people don't use because they don't need it and some company made them get it as part of the service is pretty common. I have Verizon broadband and I'm pretty sure I have a Verizon email I don't use. It might be my username at Verizon, but I'm not even sure. And evidently they sold or outsourced it to AOL so I might even need to go to AOL to access it like my parents do! But I'm never going to find out!

-Logging a phone on to a Google account to access Google Play Store and having the gmail app set up are two different things. You can do either without the other. Or neither. My dad is not smart phone savvy and blissfully used his phone for months before I tried to download a new app and found his phone wasn't logged on to a Google account.
 
  • #11
ZapperZ
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2. The actual boarding pass is just a mobile formatted webpage with a qr code for scanning. I suspect you could open it on your laptop, take a screenshot, and copy the photo to your phone with a USB cable...if you don't do #1...

There may be a problem with that.

When I display the boarding pass on my SW app or in my Apple Wallet, the screen goes to full brightness. This is because there have been issues with the scanners at the airport being able to read the QR code, etc.

So unless one already has the screen at full brightness (and perpetually drain the battery more than one should), or one does this manually (which is annoying), then one may expect that, in some instances, the scanner may not be able to read the boarding pass as easily as it should. And nothing annoys people in line behind you more than you halting the progress of going through security or boarding the plane... and yes, I'm referring to myself.

Zz.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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There may be a problem with that.

When I display the boarding pass on my SW app or in my Apple Wallet, the screen goes to full brightness. This is because there have been issues with the scanners at the airport being able to read the QR code, etc.

So unless one already has the screen at full brightness (and perpetually drain the battery more than one should), or one does this manually (which is annoying), then one may expect that, in some instances, the scanner may not be able to read the boarding pass as easily as it should. And nothing annoys people in line behind you more than you halting the progress of going through security or boarding the plane... and yes, I'm referring to myself.
Possible, but AA actually recommends taking a screenshot of the emailed boarding pass and using that because the webpage expires. Perhaps the qr code gets read faster than the screen can dim.

Screenshot_20190428-110314_Chrome.jpg
 
  • #13
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Possible, but AA actually recommends taking a screenshot of the emailed boarding pass and using that because the webpage expires. Perhaps the qr code gets read faster than the screen can dim.

View attachment 242867

This is why I like Apple Wallet. It stores the boarding pass on my device, and I have it even without any network connection.

Zz.
 
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  • #14
russ_watters
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This is why I like Apple Wallet. It stores the boarding pass on my device, and I have it even without any network connection.
Maybe the AA app does too, but I seem to forget I have it sometimes. Several different ways to do the same thing and I have a habit.
 
  • #15
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AA actually recommends taking a screenshot of the emailed boarding pass and using that because the webpage expires

Or you could just print the webpage to PDF and copy the PDF file to your phone.
 
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  • #16
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This is why I like Apple Wallet. It stores the boarding pass on my device, and I have it even without any network connection.

The arline apps do this too.
 

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