Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Paperless Boarding Pass Testimonial

While scouring the internet for TSA related information, I came across an interesting testimonial regarding paperless boarding passes from a passenger who travelled through the Detroit Metro Airport. (DTW)

“Checked in online for my flight today and saw a new option show up for an E-Boarding pass at DTW (note: only for direct flights). I had to try it, clicked and within 20 seconds a SMS message showed up on my phone with a link to the E-Boarding pass with a barcode on my cell phone (PDA). Not wanting to risk missing my flight, I also went back in and printed a boarding pass as a backup, that I never had to use.

I had a lot of questions on how it would really work, especially with having to show your boarding pass when you walk under the TSA metal detector and have to show your boarding pass and you are not allowed to bring your cell phone through. So he is how it went today:


TSA Boarding Pass Check - they have a new bar code reader that you hold your phone up to and it reads the bar code and you show them your ID to match the name that shows up on the screen. They then give you a Tuit (a Poker Chip with TSA on it).TSA Screening - Just like normal, except you hand them the Tuit instead of showing them your Boarding Pass with the TSA checkers initials on it. Sorry, they have to keep the Tuit, I was hoping to start a new game to see who could collect the most Tuits in 1 year.WorldClub - I use the Amex Plat. Card, so I have to show a Boarding Pass, ID and the Amex Card. They also have the same bar code reader and I put my phone in front of it and it scanned. Good to go. Gate - I held my phone on top of the normal reader the GA's use and it read it and I boarded without any problems. The only comment from the GA was the the last guy who tried it, didn't work. I'm sold, will be using the new E-Boarding Pass from now on. Didn't slow me down; however, I did get a lot of stares/attention from fellow pax's as I pulled out my PDA at screening, WorldClubs, Gate. “

I’d be interested to see if any of our other readers have tried this yet. So, if you've used this, please tell us about it.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, check out this MSNBC clip.

Bob

TSA EoS Blog Team

45 comments:

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Now, if you can get everyone but the terrorists to use cell phones, paperless passes, and realID, you can catch those sharks easily.

Or is it jump the sharks?

Anonymous said...

Do you print SSSS on them too?

Jim Huggins said...

One minor typo: the code for Detroit Metro airport is DTW, not DTM.

For the obsessed among you, the "W" is for "Wayne County", the county in which Detroit lives. It's also used to distinguish DTW from Detroit City Airport (DET), the much smaller downtown airport that has limited commercial service.

Steven said...

Hm, I've heard about it and I'd be excited to use it on my iPhone, but so far haven't seen it in PDX.

Ryan said...

Anon brings up a good question.

Is there an identifier on the PDA/Phone that shows if you have been hit for screening or does it just show up on the TSOs screen? One of the best parts of the ones you print is knowing if you are going to be screened (which lets me know I need to be there earlier).

Dan said...

Is the "tuit" name part of a joke. As in, "I'll get a round tuit someday?" Just wondering where the name came from.

Anonymous said...

Yep.. a tuit. Just like how the TSA has been screening the cargo and the USPS bags shipped on passenger flights.

yangj08 said...

Well, this is a step up, I guess. How about making this process unstaffed next? Something like this would be good. More TSOs in the screening lanes means the lines can move faster.

Anonymous said...

I though we now had a guy to bring real posts twice a week. Why are we getting a copy-paste post from some other blog? I hope you got authorized to do it Bob! Besides, this is not news, we have seen it before, and it does not help with airport hassle.

Anonymous said...

"Is the "tuit" name part of a joke. As in, "I'll get a round tuit someday?" Just wondering where the name came from."

Exactly - it's a play off the "When I get around to it." response. Someone printed round wooden tokens called "Tuits" to give out whnever someone said that. They became sort of a universal joke and many printing/promotional companies print them with corporate advertising logos on them. I first saw one when I was about 5 years old at my Grandparents house. They had gotten them in some bank promotional material.

Also goes with the "wooden nickle" idea.

Oh, just to keep this topic related - Is it such a good idea to be able to use the electronic boarding pass AND be allowed to print out a paper pass? Seems like there is some room in there for errors/manipulation/hand offs to another person when someone can get both.

Bob said...

Thanks Jim. :) I'll fix the typo.

Ryan, I'm working on an answer for you. I'll post as soon as I hear something.

Thanks,

Bob
TSA EoS Blog Team

Bob said...

Anonymous said... I though we now had a guy to bring real posts twice a week. Why are we getting a copy-paste post from some other blog? I hope you got authorized to do it Bob! Besides, this is not news, we have seen it before, and it does not help with airport hassle. November 6, 2008 2:34 AM
---------------------------

Anon,

Many blogs link to other posts or articles for discussion Anon. I also provided a link to the thread. Also, what may not be news to you, may be news to thousands of other readers who read our blog.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Bob said...

Tomas, I rejected your post as suggested, but I wanted to let you know that I've been bugging our overworked web guy for a few weeks now about setting up RSS for comments. I'm as excited as you are about it and can't wait until it's completed.

Also, thanks for asking about the baby. She's fine. She's starting to smile and make neato sounds. :)

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

So the new comment system isn't implemented yet but the censorship that accompanies the new comment system is implemented?

The basis for the expanded censorship is that the new comment system would be in place before the censorship begins.

Bob said...

Ayn,

Take a deep breath. Take a look around. Even you must see that we're not being too strict on moderating.

Bob
EoS Blog Team

John Mc said...

So is there a possibility in this process for you to have given your TSA chip to someone else and have a stranger just walk through???

NoClu said...

"John Mc said...
So is there a possibility in this process for you to have given your TSA chip to someone else and have a stranger just walk through???"

Of course this could happen. Then we'd have a person who's name we haven't checked inside the sterile area!! Think of the children!

Though, I'll bet the TSA will say that you can't get past the ID checker first. But on the other hand, if you can't get past the ID checker without being checked, why are boarding passes double checked?

Answer as provided previously: because you might have gotten past the id checker without being checked.

A nice case of double-think, I think. Plus the fact that ID checking doesn't equal security.

Hey, If I buy a bunch of custom poker chips on line...

Phil said...

Ayn R. Key wrote:

"The basis for the expanded censorship is that the new comment system would be in place before the censorship begins."

Note that they're not even talking about a new comment system -- just modifying their template so that the RSS feed for each post's comments (these feeds already exist) is listed in each post. They're using blogger.com, so this stuff is already there, but whomever customized EoS's site didn't bother to put the comment feeds in there initially.

If you take the blog ID for EoS (2336044328955501444) and put it together with the post ID for a particular post (this one is 8127371005978977463) like "http://www.blogger.com/" + blog-id + "/" + post-id + "/comments/default" you'll have the URL for the RSS feed for that post (like this one). You can find these numbers by looking at the target of the comments URL at the bottom of each post.

If you use a Unix-like operating system (Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, etc.) you can use the following script that given a particular EoS permalink will print the associated comment URL (unless you know what regular expressions are, this will look like gibberish):

-------- begin included text --------
#!/bin/sh

post_url="$1"

curl $post_url 2>/dev/null | grep --extended-regexp 'https?://www.blogger.com/comment.g' | sed -e's#.*blogID=\([[:digit:]]\+\).*postID=\([[:digit:]]\+\).*#http://www.blogger.com/feeds/\1/\2/comments/default#'
-------- end included text ----------

The discussion that happens in these comments would be much more comprehensible if the comments were threaded. I read somewhere long ago that TSA was considering moving from blogger.com to WordPress, which would make this a realistic possibility.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

Bob, this is a solution looking for a problem.

Tomas said...

I had to laugh, Phil, especially having been a UNIX user (and occasional SysAd) since 1983, and currently an OS X user, at your script that will make most folks eyes glaze over. 8^'

Actually I'd be happy to see a simple "Click Here" link to put me on the e-mail notification for comments to the posts. It's very quick and easy for me to follow topics via e-mail, so currently I just send in a comment to be discarded so I get on the e-mail list for comments.

I'm not sure that RSS would really be a satisfactory way to track, follow, and read comments here - of course that would depend, I suppose, on how it is set up, and how full serviced an RSS app I have (right now the one I use gives subject lines only, no content).

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that someone likes your script. :o)

yangj08 said...

"this is a solution looking for a problem."

I think the idea is fine, but you shouldn't need additional staff to do it. Have a look at the link I gave earlier.

Bob said...

SPAM Deleted from Ptenjoy.

Paul said...

Test

Anonymous said...

Booo Yaaaa! The blog team rocks, yo!

Anonymous said...

Though, I'll bet the TSA will say that you can't get past the ID checker first. But on the other hand, if you can't get past the ID checker without being checked, why are boarding passes double checked?

Answer as provided previously: because you might have gotten past the id checker without being checked.
_____________________________________________________

You are wrong in your assumption. The reason that boarding passes are checked twice is not because someone could get by the ticket checker. It is simply because the walk through metal detector officer is checking to see if there is additional screening on that ticket.

Bob said...

***FYI***

If you haven't noticed, I added a new comment feature that places the comment box at the bottom. You can also now subscribe to comments on this and other posts by clicking the "subscribe by e-mail" box on the bottom right of the comment box.

I'm still working on the RSS for comments.

Have a great weekend!

Bob

Neil said...

Phil said:
"The discussion that happens in these comments would be much more comprehensible if the comments were threaded. I read somewhere long ago that TSA was considering moving from blogger.com to WordPress, which would make this a realistic possibility."

Hi Phil: Yes, I'm still planning on moving over to WordPress but I'm fighting a few bureaucratic battles (as hard as that may be to believe!) ;-)

-Neil
TSA Blog Team

Phil said...

Bob, the new comment box doesn't work for me in Firefox 3 [Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008092510 Ubuntu/8.04 (hardy) Firefox/3.0.3] or Konqueror 3.5.10 (Konqueror uses the same rendering engine that Apple Safari does).

In firefox, preview doesn't work. The page reloads but there's no preview there. Posting doesn't work, either -- the place where the word verification should appear is blank. Preview works in Konqueror, but then there's no apparent way to continue editing or to cancel. Even if I browse back, the only button I see is "Post comment".

What have your people tested this with?

Also, I noticed that the Atom feed for a post's comments is showing up in your page header now. To find it, look for a line with the following: link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Evolution of Security - Atom"

Note: I posted this using the old comment page.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Tomas said...

Blogger Bob wrote...
If you haven't noticed, I added a new comment feature that places the comment box at the bottom. You can also now subscribe to comments on this and other posts by clicking the "subscribe by e-mail" box on the bottom right of the comment box.

I'm still working on the RSS for comments.

Have a great weekend!

________________

Looks good, Blogger Bob!

(The links in the comment e-mails are still broken or directing folks to the "old" comment format, however.)

This will be a big help for new posts that folks want to track comments about.

Thanks for the change, and you have a good weekend, too!

Ciao,
Tom (1 of 5-6)

Phil said...

Someone anonymously asked about the community TSA FAQ I started. Sir or madam, it's not huge -- it's just one page, in fact -- but yes, that's the one. A work-in-progress, it was created just three days ago, and many more than the four existing questions are frequently asked here. Please contribute your own questions (it's a wiki; just click "edit" then write whatever you like) so people don't have to dig through thousands of blog comments to find them.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

Once y'all get that email comment thingy figured out please give step by step instruction for those of us that are slow.

Trollkiller said...

Phil said...

Someone anonymously asked about the community TSA FAQ I started. Sir or madam, it's not huge -- it's just one page, in fact -- but yes, that's the one. A work-in-progress, it was created just three days ago, and many more than the four existing questions are frequently asked here. Please contribute your own questions (it's a wiki; just click "edit" then write whatever you like) so people don't have to dig through thousands of blog comments to find them.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net


Do the links to particular comments only work in I.E.? I use Firefox and those links put me at the top of the thread.

BTW I added one to your wiki. First wiki edit ever. Woo Hoo.

Phil said...

Trollkiller wrote:

"Do the links to particular comments only work in I.E.? I use Firefox and those links put me at the top of the thread."

I can't tell you about IE, as I haven't used Windows (the only OS that you can run IE on nowadays) since 1999. But there is definitely a problem with links to comments on the TSA blog. I am consistently unable to browse to one of them unless I have recently browsed to the main page for that post, otherwise, I get redirected to a 404 error page (page not found) on the TSA Web site. It seems that TSA are hosting their own copy of Blogger, and are doing so incorrectly. Paul and Neil, are you aware of this?

Bob said...

Ryan said... Anon brings up a good question.
Is there an identifier on the PDA/Phone that shows if you have been hit for screening or does it just show up on the TSOs screen? One of the best parts of the ones you print is knowing if you are going to be screened (which lets me know I need to be there earlier).

------------------------

Currently, selectee passengers are not eligible to receive a mobile boarding pass (in the same way that they can’t print one from the web at home). Eligibility is limited since the technology is still in the pilot phase. A decision hasn't been reached on if/when selectee passengers would be allowed to receive a mobile boarding pass.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Tom Cross said...

I am usually the sort of person who is a big critic of TSA, but I have to say, good job with this one. A practical use of cryptography that solves the boarding pass loophole in a smart way and makes things easier for mobile device users. Best of luck with the pilot and kudos!

Mark Graban said...

I want to know why TWICE I had failures with the mobile boarding pass, flying American out of O'Hare.

The boarding pass worked fine (brought up in my BlackBerry browser) for going through security.

Both times, at the gate, I got a "System unavailable" message on the AA.com page that came up on the browser using the same boarding pass link I had used to get through security.

And nobody gave me a "chit" to get through the metal detector. Is that a problem with the process in Terminal 3?

Anonymous said...

I have some ideas/points that I didn't see discussed.

1. Checked baggage should be weighed right before it is given to the inspector, and right after it leaves their grasp. If the weight is lower, something is missing. If it weighs more, something was added, perhaps to try and replace the stolen item with but overcompensated for the weight. Or could they be adding an explosive. Whatever. If the weight difference is greater than 1 oz it should set off some alarm or recording device to record time, flight#, inspector's name, and the amount of weight missing.

2. TSA locks - the only people who have the time, privacy, and cannot get "caught" in the middle of rifling through my luggage are the luggage inspectors, who are also the only ones who can open my lock. Also, a lock might make is seem you have something of value to protect.

3. Boarding the plane with my knives (I'm a chef, tools are expensive and some can develop sentimental value.) Some people are willing to pay a fee to bring contraband on board. Rent out safes. Go to security with my knife bag, let them take it apart, x-ray it, whatever. If they approve it, I pay a fee for them to put it in a locked box in front of me. The digital key to this lock is unknown to us both. I arrive at my destination and security awaits me with the key once out of the secured zone. I leave the lock-box with them before I can leave.

Sorry they're so long, but they wouldn't be that expensive, and the fees pay for themselves.

Jacky said...

Ok i love the TSA i mean you just have to theyre the one that kinda keep things going (safely) for us so dont get mad at them at the airport.

Pdf said...

I though we now had a guy to bring real posts twice a week. Why are we getting a copy-paste post from some other blog? I hope you got authorized to do it Bob! Besides, this is not news, we have seen it before, and it does not help with airport hassle.

Miranda Jenkins said...

They should have a pre-screening/application process for this paperless system.

Such as:

1. You go to the airport to apply for paperless privileges. They take your SSN, fingerprints, etc.

2. They perform a thorough background check on you. Top to bottom. Inside and out.

3. If/When they confirm you, all you have to do is buy your ticket and provide your SSN to match the ticket up to your fingerprint (they already that on record).

4. When you get to the airport, you just have to press your finger against the reader and it searches the database for your ticket. Computers are VERY fast these days, and it would only have to search through the fingerprints that have valid tickets associated with them... not through every fingerprint on file.

Just my $0.02.

It seems safer than a cell-phone anyway. There are some pretty smart terrorists out there these days.

Shane said...

i have used the electronic form on my phone. But just like you i ALWAYS print a backup. I am never sure that i will get to the gate and they say ..."what's that?" and give me some strange look. But i am glad to see technology step up and others are recognizing there is an easier and better way to do things. Cheers

Shane said...

not sure if my post made it? but i will try again.

I have used the electronic form before but always carry the old paper in hand method. Not sure if they will look at me crazy one day and say..." what's that?". I love technology and glad to see that we are moving on to better ways of doing things.

woodworking said...

This blog really rocks. The content on this post is really interesting worth reading as it talks about how the advancement of the technology such as mobile devices can be very handy in terms of saving time.

I'm really surprised to know that you can use one's smart phone like iPhone to use as reference for the airlines ticket purchase.

I definitely would like to visit this blog more often from today onward.

Louisa said...

Like other people here I do like the idea of going paperless for things like flights, however having recently got a smart phone I realise that it is far from infallable and seems to lose internet at the crucial moment, or some other problem occurs like the battery running down! So like you and Shane I agree that printing backups is essential - but then it seems to kind of defy the point!

syahzanan said...

any solutions?