Travelers are required to go through checks at the airport before they can finally board their planes. And, before the entire process can even take place, there is one piece of document that plays a crucial role that can either permit or refuse you to get on the plane. We all have heard about “boarding passes” when flying to our destinations on any airline carrier.
In this blog, we are going to give you an in-depth overview of what is a boarding pass in air travel. Also, we will cover a few common questions, like what is it used for, its benefits, and drawbacks.
What is a Boarding Pass?
For any given airline carrier, in order to access the airport’s boarding gate and board the plane, passengers are required to carry a document that allows them to access the airport’s security area. This document is usually provided by the airport staff at the check-in counter to passengers that are about to start the boarding procedure.
Thus, the document that permits passengers to access the airport’s airside (area after security) and also board the plane is known as a boarding pass. Additionally, if your flight itinerary includes one or more connecting flights, you will require separate boarding pass for each flight you are going to board.
A boarding pass not only gives you access to an airport’s airside section, it also contains information, such as passenger’s name, flight number, flight time, boarding time, assigned seat number, passenger entitlements and other relevant information.
How is a Boarding Pass Different from a Flight Ticket?
A boarding pass and a flight ticket are not the same, although both may contain more or less similar information about the passenger and travel itinerary.
Below is a list of details that are often included in a boarding pass.
- Name of the passenger
- Destination and arrival time
- Class (Economy/ Business/ First)
- Flight number
- Boarding gate, boarding time, boarding priority level and boarding door
- The departure airport, departure terminal and departure time
- Seat number
- Checked in sequence
- PNR Reference (Passenger Name Record is a unique identification number)
- Barcode (a boarding pass contains a digital version of the printed data of your pass and which can be easily scanned by reading the 2D code)
Basically, as mentioned above, having a boarding pass will permit you to pass through the boarding gate check and get on the plane. A flight ticket, on the other hand, permits you to fly to your destination.
Both documents are required, if you are travelling to your destination by air.
Getting on the Plane without a Boarding Pass
It is important to note here that no airport will allow you to board your plane if you do not have a boarding pass. Also, you cannot use your flight ticket as a boarding pass, since we have already seen their difference mentioned above.
Every passenger is required to obtain a printed copy of their boarding passes, either at the airport’s check-in counter through an airport representative, or in electronic format on mobile devices. You will require this piece of document for the purpose of boarding your plane only. Once you have arrived at your destination airport or city, you have no use for it and you can destroy the pass rather than simply throwing it in a trash can. This could be sensitive from a privacy point of view and prevent your information from being misused by other persons.
The use of boarding passes at airports prior to starting the boarding procedure is an important part of any airline carrier’s travel policy. So, you cannot ignore this.
How to Get a Boarding Pass in Electronic and Paper Formats?
Prior to the use of smartphones, passengers were required to collect their boarding passes at the airport’s check-in counter, where an airport staff would issue you a printed copy of your boarding pass. Some airports also provided self-service kiosks, allowing passengers to quickly print their boarding passes instead of waiting in the queue.
You could then attach your flight ticket to the boarding pass and show them at the gate during the boarding process.
Now, with the wide use of smartphones and sophisticated technology, boarding passes are also available in electronic form. Thus, it is now a lot easier to print a copy of your boarding pass directly from your mobile phone, which you receive via e-mail or text message. An electronic form of boarding pass also contains a 2D bar code that can be read by a barcode scanner.
Also, you can request a mobile boarding pass, which in today’s era, is in digital format and you do not necessarily require to print it. You can simply show your mobile boarding pass to the agent at the gate using your smartphone.
Having an electronic form of boarding pass can save you time as you can check-in online before boarding your flight. However, keep in mind that there is a limited check-in timeframe, whether you do it at the airport or online.
At present, a large number of airline carriers around the world started offering mobile boarding passes for the convenience of both travellers and the airliners.
Benefits of an e-Boarding Pass
Since many airline companies have embraced the technological approach of issuing boarding passes to passengers, the use of paper boarding passes are gradually diminishing.
As we have learned from the above, using an e-boarding pass can be a lot more convenient and environment-friendly too. Also, having a mobile boarding pass can save you the hassle of finding a printer to get a copy of the pass. You can simply use your mobile phone, click the link that has been given to you via e-mail or SMS, open your pass and show it to the agent at the gate.
A Few Additional Things about Boarding Pass You Need to Know
- A boarding is an essential piece of document without which you cannot board your plane.
- You can obtain a boarding pass that is printed in paper or in electronic format, like a mobile boarding pass.
- In case you forget or lose your boarding pass, you can still get a reprinted copy at the airport through the gate agent.
- The name on your boarding must match the name that is printed on your ID and/or passport.
- If you are just accompanying a minor, an elderly relative or a person with special needs, you do not require a boarding pass. Instead, you will need an escort pass. You can get it at the airport’s check-in counter. Checkout Policy for Unaccompanied minors.
- An escort pass is available to persons accompanying travellers on domestic flights only.
- Without a boarding pass, you are restricted to access the airport’s landside area only and not past the security.
Conclusion – A Review on What is a Boarding Pass in Air Travel
Whether you are travelling for the first time or are a frequent flyer, having a boarding pass is mandatory. Most important of all, you simply cannot ignore this small yet essential document when you are at the airport to catch your flight.