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Five Airlines Already Supporting Mobile Boarding Passes on Apple's iOS 6 Passbook

September 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM | by | Comment (1)

"Mobile Boarding Passes are God's gift to modern air travel." That was the title of one our stories way back in May 2010, when such technology was still on the drawing boards at airlines. Still, a few pioneering airlines were already allowing flyers to go paperless and, after using our first mobile boarding pass on a Lufthansa flight, we thought it pretty neat.

Apple completely agrees that mobile boarding passes are pretty neat, and they've put so much brain power into making the use of them easier, faster and prettier that their new iOS6 app, Passbook, heavily features mobile boarding pass integration.

Haven't updated to the new operating system yet? It's okay—not all airlines promising Passbook support have their updates in place anyway. To see what airlines do, check your iPhone app updates and download the latest from any airlines that pop up in the update list. To prepare, here's what the very first Passbook boarding passes will look like, from the first airlines hopping on the Passbook bandwagon:

· United Airlines (pictured above). United is ready, willing and able to get you on your way with Passbook. Their latest app update included integration, so all you have to do now is book a flight and get a move on.

· Lufthansa and Delta: Lufthansa may not have figured in Apple's presentation, but they've been the most vocal about showing off that they're ready for Passbook like, now. LH has never been on to shy away from new technology, so we don't foresee many bugs in using their Passbook passes. Delta on the other hand did feature in the keynote, but the Passbook integration with their app hasn't kicked in yet.

· American Airlines and Virgin Australia: For these two airlines, the case is very similar to that of Lufthansa and Delta. Where Lufthansa was gung-ho from the beginning, so is Virgin Australia. And though Delta featured in the keynote, American did as well but both are being quieter about the new ability. At least American's app is updated to support Passbook.

· Bonus! Even Amtrak is getting in on the Passbook action. Apple even used their logo as a sample Passbook tab during the keynote earlier this week, so perhaps we can count on more advance train lines (example: DeutscheBahn and Shinkansen) to update their mobile tech as well.

[Photos: respective airlines]

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Problem with Mobile Boarding Passes

Travelers who plan on using the mobile boarding pass should use caution. I traveled on 8/2812 and sat at the gate for 2 hours while United Airlines world-wide network was down. Gate agents wanted to load the plane "old school" but couldn't because a number of passengers had mobile boarding passes. As a result, our midday flight to Dulles International arrived around 10pm and about 50 folks missed their connections to Europe. Sometimes, good old fashion paper isn't such a bad thing!

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