• Why I Still Print Boarding Passes (and everything else)



    Once again, it's summer vacation time for yours truly, and before I set off I thought I'd share some travel wisdom in regards to airlines and their mobile apps. After a decade of pining for paperless check-in it's now very much a thing, but after getting this notification from China Airlines' spiffy Android app I went straight to my desktop computer to check in online and print out boarding passes the old fashioned way. Here's why...

    The girlfriend and I are actually starting our journey from Toronto on Air Canada. When we check our bags for that first flight I'm going to ask if they can be also checked through on China Airlines to our final destination; if Air Canada can facilitate that request I'll then hand over our paper boarding passes from China Airlines, instead of two smartphones whose screens will timeout and will have to be unlocked every sixty seconds by a fingerprint and pattern, respectively.

    We'll then request paper boarding passes for our Air Canada flight, so that we don't have to hand over the same smartphones that contain our entire digital lives to a security official who might decide, for whatever reason, that a further inspection of our digital lives is necessary.

    It's not that we've anything to hide; when it comes to our travel plans it's really quite the opposite. My pre-travel printing spree also includes two complete sets of airline tickets and hotel reservations, which I'll leave in each of our unlocked suitcases, along with scans of our passports, in the event that they get misdirected somewhere along the way. And lest you think I'm some kind of tree-hating monster, the pages will be shredded and recycled upon our return home.

    To sum up, paper still has its place in 21st century travel, for your security and the convenience of everyone you'll interact with along the way. Thanks for indulging; I expect to be back on regular duty on Monday, September 10th.

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: Why I Still Print Boarding Passes (and everything else) started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      I also want a paper boarding pass. I've seen scanners have problems reading the bar/QR codes at the boarding points. Slows down the process. Also, what if your battery dies at an inopportune moment? Paper works.
    1. Skuzz's Avatar
      Skuzz -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      I also want a paper boarding pass. I've seen scanners have problems reading the bar/QR codes at the boarding points. Slows down the process. Also, what if your battery dies at an inopportune moment? Paper works.
      The closest to a usable concept of digital boarding pass I've seen thus far is if you carry BOTH a smartphone AND a smartwatch and the app just automatically starts displaying the QR code for your boarding pass on the watch about an hour or so before your flight whenever it wakes. So at least it is a limited device that has the code...but...it also has a battery...

      ...Oh and there's the whole issue with having to contort your wrist upside down for the barcode scanner...

      Paper works.
    1. TacoDan's Avatar
      TacoDan -
      Paper, Paper
    1. formercanuck's Avatar
      formercanuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      I also want a paper boarding pass. I've seen scanners have problems reading the bar/QR codes at the boarding points. Slows down the process. Also, what if your battery dies at an inopportune moment? Paper works.
      I've had both happen on the few times that I've used paperless boarding. Once to a former manager of mine (good person) who's phone died - yeah, I that should have been planned better, but regardless - paper doesn't 'die'. On mine going through Europe, I had both - and the scanners weren't scanning QR very well - after many attempts on the QR, they took my paper copy.
      While I don't mind convenience of wireless to do many of these, things that I can plan for - I prefer having a paper copy. Don't want to deal with the potential issues of phone reboot, battery, or worse... phone die (happened to a friend travelling to Europe this summer).
    1. krazy's Avatar
      krazy -
      Not tech related, but if you flew with a Star Alliance partner of Air Canada for the YVR-AKL portion of your trip (such as Air New Zealand), your luggage would automatically be checked through to AKL from the time you board at YYZ.
    1. i0wnj00's Avatar
      i0wnj00 -
      I used the paper boarding pass as a backup to the mobile boarding pass, but lately I just keep the mobile boarding pass in Apple Wallet, the airline app, and a screenshot of the boarding pass in case the wireless connection doesn't quite pull the data onto my iPhone.

      When I worked for the TSA in the past, that was my biggest gripe...passengers with their mobile boarding pass not loading up for some reason, a phone which crashed or simply not ready to begin the security process and what usually happens is that they're either holding up the line or need to step aside, the latter gets pretty bad you have multiple people clogging up the sides of the walkway since they now end up bunching up into the flow of traffic.

      My issue with paper is that it creates more clutter and just another piece of trash that gets left behind in my backpack.

      We'll then request paper boarding passes for our Air Canada flight, so that we don't have to hand over the same smartphones that contain our entire digital lives to a security official who might decide, for whatever reason, that a further inspection of our digital lives is necessary.
      Since I'm a frequent border crosser, this is a moot point since CBP can decide if they need to take a peek at my mobile devices.
    1. bshell's Avatar
      bshell -
      What's more, I print out all electronic bills for everything. There's something about paper records that trumps electronic filing. What if your hard-drive dies before a backup? What if your backup is lost? What if you need to find a receipt fast and don't want to go looking for old e-files? The paper one is in a folder in a filing cabinet. Easy. Takes a few seconds to find. Also: paper lasts for 500 years. E-files last only as long as the file format, which changes about every 10 years. E-files I have from the 1990s are no longer accessible. But paper documents from those decades are still just sitting in a filing cabinet. I tell all my service providers to send paper bills and only accept electronic billing if they charge for paper. Yay Paper!! Love it.
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by bshell View Post
      ..... There's something about paper records that trumps electronic filing. ......Yay Paper!! Love it.
      It's a pain in the butt to shred. You either have to feed it into a shredder that's so noisy you can't carry on a conversation or save it up for public shred days at the bank. I do save a lot of paper. Most of it for 5 years. Some longer. I'm a dinosaur.
    1. aenews's Avatar
      aenews -
      I don't really get this. That said it can't hurt to have a paper back-up. That's always a good idea.
    1. Eleno9's Avatar
      Eleno9 -
      All sorts of machines are there but it better to have a printed one as a contingency plan. You never know what went wrong so a paper one is still worthy to carry.
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