AIRLINES COMPLETE SWITCH TO BAR CODED BOARDING PASSES
THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced another milestone in passenger travel with the introduction of 100 per cent worldwide implementation of 2 Dimensional Bar coded boarding passes (BCBP).
Under the development, the BCBP has replaced the previous generation of more expensive and less efficient magnetic stripe boarding passes.
Speaking on the development, the director general of IATA, Giovanni Bisignani explained,'the magnetic stripe boarding passes are on their way to a history museum next to the paper ticket. After electronic ticketing in 2008, the conversion to BCBP is the next important step to provide passengers with more convenience and choice. Completing many tasks during the journey will now take seconds with the swipe of a bar code.'
The completion of the industry project gives passengers greater choice in checking-in at home, at a kiosk, on a mobile device or at an airport check-in counter.
BCBP also allows airlines to issue a single, printed boarding pass for multiple flights, simplifying the journey for passengers with flight connections or those traveling on different airlines. Moreover, BCBP opens the door for automated access to premium services.
For example, with a scan of a BCBP, eligible passengers can access fast-track security lanes or lounges.
'Airlines issue over two billion boarding passes every year. The conversion to printed 2D BCBP has been a five-year project and will save the industry up to $1.5 billion every year. With more and more airlines offering the possibility to receive the bar code via a mobile device, we are well on the way to truly paperless travel,' said Bisignani.
Magnetic stripe boarding passes, which have been used since 1983, have several limitations for airlines and passengers that the bar code overcomes. Magnetic stripe boarding passes require expensive printers located in the airport, at a check-in desk or inside a kiosk, limiting where passengers can get their boarding passes. The magnetic stripe boarding passes also require expensive and unique paper stock.
In the 1990s, some carriers transitioned to one-dimensional (1D) bar codes, which have a series of parallel vertical lines and look similar to UPC codes used to identify store products. These 1D codes were first used in the rail industry in the 1960s and are only able to carry a limited amount of data.