Almost two years ago, I wrote about the Fallacy of Electronic Boarding Passes. I’m happy to say that there’s been progress and innovation in this area since then.
I used to prefer having a physical boarding pass because it:
- Didn’t have issues being scanned
- Could allow me to use my phone while waiting in line to have my boarding pass scanned
- Was less likely to be a concern if my phone ran out of battery
Having taken at least 22 flights this month, I’m now convinced that the airline app on Android — at least for United, Delta, and Air Canada — is fully baked and I prefer it to web and paper boarding passes.
So what’s changed? (from my experience with the Air Canada app on Android)
- The app doesn’t crash
- The boarding pass is available even when the app is offline
- It provides upgrade / standby waitlist placement (Air Canada doesn’t provide this information at a gate display like United)
- The checkin process retains information previously provided
- The load time is quick
- It provides system notifications when the flight is boarding (sometimes), if there’s a gate or status change, or other information
Compared to the connectivity to printers during travel, the airline mobile apps have advanced much more. Trying to print a boarding pass at a hotel is a crapshoot.
It took about 10 years for the experience of a mobile boarding pass to work as intended. Can we create and apply a 10 year rule to other technologies? What will the Echo look like in 2022 (10 years after the Ubi)? What about the first consumer available self-driving car in 2024 (Tesla released Autopilot four years ago)? What else?