Low-cost carrier Jetstar has begun real-life testing of a mobile phone technology that issues boarding passes through SMS.
The airline told Australian media that trials are now being conducted with its domestic passengers at Melbourne's Avalon airport, where the SMS "passes" are electronically scanned from phone screens at the departure gate.
The new boarding system is aimed to reduce check-in times and long queues, particularly of passengers with no bags.
Compatible with 98 percent of mobile phones, the technology analyses the alphanumeric codes included in the SMS and checks them to the airline's database. Passengers are reassured of data privacy as the SMS pass does not carry all their information but only relates the pass number to details in the airline database.
During the pilot test period, passengers who check in online will be given the option of having their boarding pass and unique boarding code delivered to their phone by SMS. They will receive their boarding passes 24 hours before the flight.
Jetstar expects to roll out the new system across its entire domestic network by the end of the year. Later, it could be introduced in other markets such as the airline's domestic services in New Zealand.