Qantas phone check-in to take off next year
Up, up and away
Barcode boarding is really taking off, with Qantas becoming the latest airline to launch mobile phone based check-in services.
Barcode based check-in. Image courtesy of USA Today
From early next year, any domestic Qantas passenger who checks in and selects their seat online prior to departure can request a 2D barcode be sent as a text message to their mobile phone, or in an email for use on a smartphone or laptop.
Once they arrive at the airport, the passenger only has to get the barcode scanned by Qantas staff before passing directly through to security.
John Borghetti, Executive General Manager of Qantas, described barcode boarding as a “paperless experience”.
The airline hasn’t said what technical set-up customers must have to use the service, such as which mobile phones will be compatible. However, Borghetti added that all iPhone 3G users at least will have access to barcode boarding.
It’s worth noting that Qantas isn’t the world’s first airline to offer such a service. Air France already has a similar barcode boarding service running on its Charles de Gaulle to Amsterdam Schiphol route.
Tech looking for a solution
I have one of the 2d bar code scanners. Its a technology looking for a solution. I'm guessing it takes about twice as long to get a good read as the paper scanners that Qantas already uses. The things only work with a fraction of new phones with the glossy ones being the worst. Its also going to cost $.20 at least for Qantas to send the MMS message if they get the super discount rate and the failure rate for sending those tends to be in the 5% range depending on the carrier. Getting a hundred+ people to find a specific message on their phone will be fun. Telstra has been pushing these 2d bar codes since they have to appear to be doing something technological to their stock holders. There is no where for this project to go except down.
Telephone checkin ? It's almost like the 1980s again.
BMI do this
I travelled from Edinburgh to London yesterday on BMI with one of these "boarding passes".
It's a bit bizarre, actually: at security, and at the gate, they put the barcode under their scanner to validate it. When you get on the plane itself, the steward(ess) wants to do a visual inspection of the barcode (as well as the text part of the message). What (s)he hopes to learn from that, I'm not sure.
As Adam says, above, though, it does seem a solution in search of a problem. Tying my boarding to a plastic card already in my wallet would be soooo much easier.