Five airlines offering mobile boarding passes

4 May 2011

Our mobile devices have evolved to incorporate features that go beyond simple telecommunication, making life on the road easier.

For travellers, the smartphone can generate mobile boarding passes for their flights, thus saving them on time spent going through the standard airport procedures as passengers simply have to scan their 2D barcode at the gate rather than pick up a boarding pass at the check-in counter. This technology is picking up pace and will eventually eclipse the hard-copy paper boarding passes. According to Trinity, a mobile boarding passes technology provider, more than 15 billion mobile boarding passes in total are predicted to be distributed amongst travellers by 2014 around the world. Below are five of the many airlines that have streamlined their check-in procedures by giving passengers the option to use mobile boarding passes:


Passengers can check in, either through their personal computers or their mobile phones, and will then receive the mobile boarding passes via email.

Routes: All international and domestic routes departing Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport. ANA passengers can also use this facility when departing London, Paris, Frankfurt and Munich.

Compatible with: All web-enabled phones



The airline has a dedicated application for smartphones and Executive Club members simply have to log in and click on the “Check in/Get boarding pass” button for the boarding pass to be downloaded onto the phone.

Routes: All flights exiting the UK, except the service flying from London City Airport to New York because of US security regulations. Passengers departing Europe will also have access to the facility from 46 destinations, including Paris CDG, Amsterdam, Berlin, Geneva and Barcelona. Additionally, passengers departing Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto can also use the facility.

Compatible with: iPhones, BlackBerry and Android phones. For passengers using other phones, the mobile website only enables check-in but does not provide an electronic boarding pass.



Instead of having a dedicated app, Lufthansa passengers who check in via the mobile website can obtain an electronic boarding pass. After checking in on the mobile website, the barcode is sent either through email or an SMS, alongside information about the flight in plain text format.

Routes: All flights from Germany, except for flights to Tel Aviv. Several European departure points, including London-Heathrow, Barcelona, Lisboa, Rome and Paris. The service is also available from Doha, Mexico City and four points in Canada (Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). Additionally, passengers on SAS, Luxair, Austrain, SWISS, Air Canada, Brussels Airlines or TAP Air Portugal can also use the Lufthansa mobile check-in services and get the electronic boarding pass.

Compatible with: All web-enabled phones  




Qantas is perhaps the only carrier to use technology to its full potential when it comes to reducing check-in wait times. In addition to the electronic boarding passes, the carrier has introduced smart Q Cards and permanent Q Bag Tags for domestic services. The Q Card Reader uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, enabling passengers to automatically check-in by tapping their frequent flyer Q cards on the readers while the personalised Q Bag Tags, consisting of the passenger’s flight details, enables passengers to drop their bags off at a dedicated “Bag Drop” site. This technology has yet to be rolled out on international routes.

Routes: Mobile boarding passes are currently only available for Australian domestic routes. Passengers departing several destinations across Australia, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Sydney (T2 and T3), can utilise the technology. The “Next Generation” check in facilities, with the Q Cards and Q Bag Tags, are available in Perth, Sydney (T3), Melbourne and Brisbane.

Compatible with: The mobile boarding pass function is compatible with all web-enabled phones.



The merged carriers enable passengers to check-in through their mobile website and, upon check-in, passengers will receive their mobile boarding passes via email.

Routes for United: All flights within the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, as well as international flights departing from airports in Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Munich, Osaka, Geneva, Moscow, and Zurich.

Routes for Continental: All flights departing from a US airport or eligible airports outside of the US, except travel to Australia and travel exceeding 10 persons.

Compatible with: Web-enabled devices


Alisha Haridasani and Rachael Ho

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