The results of a poll taken by Business Traveller magazine show that less than 1 in 5 of us are using a mobile boarding pass. Since this is poll taken by a business travel magazine, the results reflect what frequent fliers are doing rather than the general public. When adding in all fliers, it is probably less than 2% that are using mobile boarding passes.
In fact, I asked a TSA agent at the Orlando airport this week as to how many people come through his line using a mobile boarding pass. He estimates only 2 people per hour, so I was 50% of his mobile boarding pass customers in the 7am hour. Since so many travelers coming through MCO are family tourists, it is not surprising that the number in Orlando is low.
However, I see about the same results in Houston’s Intercontinental Airport where there are a lot of business travelers on Thursday and Friday evenings. The TSA agent in Houston I spoke with also said that very few mobile boarding passes come through. Until recently, the mobile boarding pass machines were usually off in Houston, and needed to be turned on when I came through with my phone’s boarding pass. Today the machines were actually on, so maybe business is picking up.
I personally love using a mobile boarding pass. I do not have to worry about printing a boarding pass ahead of time, or getting it from a check-in kiosk at the airport. At the airport, my iPhone always connects successfully to the link. I do try to have the boarding pass displayed before I get into the security line, as it takes a few seconds or more for my connection to the boarding pass to display.
I have seen that other travelers have had troubles with the scan of their mobile boarding pass, and they have gotten sent back to an agent for a paper boarding pass. The TSA agents I talked with said that it is primarily the boarding passes on a Blackberry that have a problem. They can only be sized in one of two ways on the Blackberry, and even the larger size may have problems being scanned. They said that the iPhone generally has no issues because the bar code can be set to an easy-to-scan large size. I have never had a problem on my iPhone, so I happily use my mobile boarding pass whenever I can.
I also show my mobile boarding pass when I enter an airline’s club room. The boarding pass is simply looked at and not scanned in these locations.