Now that the so called smart phones, such as the BlackBerry, the Nokia N series and the iPhone, are becoming more and more ubiquitous, so airlines are ramping up their paperless or electronic boarding pass programs. I came across this recently when flying KLM out of Amsterdam Schipol when returning from the State of the Map conference; I’d checked in online from my hotel room but had no access to a printer. KLM’s online check-in system offered me the option of having my boarding pass on my iPhone, which duly arrived as a link in an email.
British Airways allegedly offers this service out of London Heathrow though I’ve yet to see it being used and there’s no evidence of any scanners at the gates at Terminal 5 or Terminal 4. British Midland and Lufthansa are also operating trial programs and now Continental Airlines are offering a trial at San Francisco. When moving around Schipol the system worked incredibly well even though some staff seemed not to have heard of it and looked a bit confused when I showed them my phone after being asked for my boarding pass.