iPhone on the Road: a substitute for paper boarding passes

Updated ·2 min read

Some things sound really cool -- until you actually have to step up and do them in real time. TUAW reader Gerald Buckley's story about traveling with his iPhone strikes me as belonging to this class.

When he approached the American Airlines counter to use his iPhone as a boarding pass, the coolness quotient for his entire trip got bumped up several notches. It seems that he navigated over to AA.com using Mobile Safari, signed in and displayed a PDF of his boarding pass on-screen. The American Airlines counter agent in San Antonio "humored" him and scanned the barcode as displayed on his iPhone. The scan worked, and Buckley proceeded with his travels (much to the envy and amazement of his fellow passengers, no doubt).

Here's the thing though. If it were me, this would have totally gone another way. First, while waiting on line, I would have had bad WiFi. It would have taken me about 20 minutes to type in my information and the people behind me on line would have been coughing *significantly* to get me to keep moving along with the line as I tried to type, move all my luggage and possibly keep three extremely rambunctious children in order. Finally, I would get to the gate agent and I would have gotten the snarky impatient version -- somehow I always do. Assuming that I could even get all the typing and navigation done, I know in my heart that the response would have been "you need a printed boarding pass, ma'am."

Of course, this is entirely academic because I have not been granted a boarding pass for the last 5 or 6 years due entirely, I'm sure, to my last name. It's always "You must check in at the counter" -- which is way easier than even a boarding pass because I just swipe my credit card.

All that having been said, TUAW congratulates Mr. Buckley's ingenuity and offers the example of his experience to speed you your travels in a uniquely geek fashion.

If you've got the travel bug (with or without your iPhone), be sure to visit our sister site Gadling for all things flight-related.