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Its a good point Martyn, but I think the difficulty is that any system is only as useful as its “weakest link”.
In Australia, this will be used only domestically. It’s a relatively closed market, with Qantas getting much (not all!) of the regular Business traffic; it makes sense to invest in the hardware and peripherals needed to manage this.
Less easy in Europe or the US where a wide range of airlines flies to multiple different airports.
iPhone boarding passes are relatively light on up front investment, and that is why I think they are more practical.
Don’t misunderstand, I am very impressed indeed with what Qantas are proposing – and hope it will be rolled out as open source technology with an easily accessible international standard. But RFID was trialled by BAA at LHR T5 (of all places!) almost three years ago in Feb 2008:
For now, until that happens, iPhone boarding passes are the most practical option, and I have to say I don’t really find them any more cumbersome than paper tickets.