Thursday, June 18, 2009

TSA Paperless Boarding Pass Pilot Expanding

We’ve talked about this before, but the paperless boarding pass pilot program is picking up steam and I thought I’d give you an update.

It was just rolled out at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. Check out the press conference with CVG Federal Security Director Paul Wisniewski and Delta Field Director Paul Baird, along with a brief demonstration.

The program rolled out in 2007 and is now operating at the following 20 airports:

Atlanta Hartsfield International (ATL), Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS), Boston Logan International (BOS), Chicago O-Hare International (ORD), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG),Cleveland Hopkins (CLE), Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Indianapolis International (IND), John Wayne, Orange County, CA (SNA), Las Vegas McCarren (LAS), Los Angeles International (LAX), Memphis (MEM), Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Newark International (EWR), Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), Salt Lake City International (SLC), San Antonio International (SAT), Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)

Alaska: SEA
American: ORD, SNA, LAX
Continental: IAH, DCA, EWR, BOS, AUS, SAT, CLE, LGA, LAS
Delta/Northwest: ATL, LAS, MEM, MSP, DET, SLC, CVG
Delta only: LGA
Northwest only: IND

So what do we mean by paperless? Are boarding passes being made out of plastic? Nope… Passengers will be able to receive their boarding passes on their cell phones or PDAs.

Why are we doing this? Well, it’s hip to be green, right? That’s kind of cool, but this has some other perks. First off, you don’t have to worry about that troublesome boarding pass any longer. Now the boarding pass is your phone. You’re far less likely to lose your phone than you are your tickets.

The paperless boarding pass will also prevent fraudulent paper boarding passes that could be created and printed from home.

The paperless boarding pass has a two dimensional state of the art tamper resistant super duper bar code as well as your name and flight information. Our Travel Document Checkers (TDCs) will scan your paperless boarding pass as seen in the video above.

I bet you’re wondering how the two dimensional state of the art tamper resistant super duper bar code works? I can’t just give something a title like that and not take the time to explain it, can I?

Unlike the usual one dimensional single line bar code you would normally see on a box of Cap'n Crunch, this bar code is two dimensional. The encrypted code contains passenger information as well as authentication information from the airline that can only be decoded by a TSA scanner. TSA is also working with the airlines to create the same type of bar code for those who choose to use paper boarding passes. How is it tamper resistant you might ask? Well, I guess you could manipulate the code if you really wanted to, but the scanner will detect any sign of tampering.

As long as youre phone/PDA can receive and open attachments and you’re flying out of one of the airports listed above on a participating airline on the second Tuesday of the month, you can take part in this pilot program. (OK, I was kidding about the second Tuesday of the month…)

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team