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American Airlines Paperless Boarding Pass

American Airlines is now offering passengers the option to use mobile boarding passes for certain flights. With this option, you would show your boarding pass bar code to TSA personnel, which seems like kind of a pain considering the current security screening. Now, you’re supposed to “hang on to your boarding pass” as you go through the metal detector and show it to the TSA representative on the other side. If the boarding pass is on your phone, this part won’t be possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for saving as many trees as possible, I just think the TSA system is going to have to be revised to accommodate the new electronic boarding passes.

Once you arrive at the gate, you will again use the barcode on your cell phone to board the plane. Maybe this will keep people from boarding the wrong aircraft, which the current technology does not prevent. Be aware, the barcode will not be sent via text message. To use the new feature, you must have a mobile device with the internet to download the boarding pass bar code.

According to Gavin Lew, Managing Director at User Centric, who had the pleasure of testing the process on the first day, “Mobile boarding passes represent the potential of improved convenience, but the user experience is not yet perfect. First I thought my phone would get a picture message. Then I needed to access email through my phone. Then I needed to open a browser and get the boarding pass from the Internet. This is a very cool concept, but American Airlines just needs to set expectations for the user with clearer instructions.”

Should you decide to “go paperless,” the process begins with checking in online at the airline’s website, Upon checking in for your flight, you are given three boarding pass options, including print, print later and using a mobile pass.

It’s a great concept, and it is certainly the way of the future, but it looks like this technology is going to experience a few growing pains along the way.

To view the full article including recommendations, check out UserCentric.