United Airlines announces wireless check-in and paperless boarding passes

A mere 24 hours after American Airlines announced the expansion of their paperless boarding passes, United Airlines becomes more mobile with their own services. The United Airlines announcement involves two new technologies – mobile check-in and paperless boarding passes.

With mobile check-in, you simply point your mobile browser to mobile.united.com, and enter your flight information. If you are flying out of Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York La Guardia, San Francisco or Washington Dulles, you can have your boarding pass emailed to your device.

For other airports, you’ll need to pay Mr Easy Check-In a visit to have a paper boarding pass printed. Of course, if you have baggage to check, you’ll still need to stop at a desk or use a Skycap.

With the paperless option, you save a bar code image to your device, ready for the checkpoint and boarding gate staff to scan.

United expects to expand the paperless option to other airports as soon as possible. Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle are next on the list to receive the service.

At the United Airlines mobile site, you can also check flight status, flight availability, Mileage Plus statements, Red Carpet Club locations and airport codes. I’m happy to see airlines invest in these technologies – anything that can speed up the process of getting from the front door of the airport to the plane is great.

Have you used mobile boarding passes yet? How was your experience with them?


American Airlines expands mobile boarding pass system to 19 new airports

Yesterday, American Airlines announced on Twitter that their mobile boarding pass system has been expanded to 19 new airports.

The system allows you to receive an email link to a mobile boarding pass on your (smart)phone, and to save the image to your device. At the security checkpoint and boarding gate, you simply show your phone, and allow the bar code to be scanned.

Now, this all sounds great on paper, but I’ve had my fair share of problems getting it to work correctly – the scanners at the checkpoint don’t always work, and when you are in line at the gate waiting to board, you’ll need to be sure you can pull up the image quickly.

When your phone goes into standby, it can take 20 seconds or more to get back to the image. Also, on the iPhone I’ve noticed that the image needs some zooming to work correctly. Back in 2008, our very own Grant Martin was one of the first to take the system for a spin – and had similar issues.

Still, paperless boarding is the future, and eventually the minor issues will be resolved, which means you no more late night hassles to find a working printer at your hotel.

The airports participating in the mobile boarding pass system are: Albuquerque (ABQ), Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), El Paso (ELP), Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Jacksonville (JAX), Las Vegas (LAS), Little Rock (LIT), Los Angeles (LAX), Memphis (MEM), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Oklahoma City (OKC), Orlando (MCO), Phoenix (PHX), Santa Ana/John Wayne/Orange Counte (SNA), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Antonio (SAT), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Tulsa (TUL), and Washington Dulles (IAD) airports.