BP via PDA/Phone - Just checked in...

 
Old Nov 17, 08, 11:03 am
  #1  
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BP via PDA/Phone - Just checked in...

I believe it was a week or so ago that AA announce electronic boarding passes that could get via your PDAs/Smartphones or other devices. IIRC, you had to be travelling from ORD or SNA (there were others too) on a non-stop flight. Since SNA is home, I thought I would try this for my flight tomorrow. It was also my plan to do as much as possible on this reservation via my phone rather than online or the EXP desk to see how 'virtual' the process could be.

Note - original flight was booked online via a computer, but after that all changes, with the exception of ONE seat change, was done on the Blackberry. BTW - I am using a Blackberry Bold (9000) on the AT&T 3G network - I just got this phone, and it's internet performance is FAR better than my previous Blackberry Curve. I am not affiliated with AT&T or RIM.

So far, here are my thoughts...

- Online check in via the BB was fine, easy. No problem. Seat changes also the same. UI is fairly similar to AA.com.

- AA.com was down (again) this weekend for maintenance, but the mobile site was up and working.

- The BP you get for your phone is actually an email with a URL link that you have to cut and paste into your phone's browser. The URL in the email I got on my BB was NOT clickable. I don't know if that is a function of my phone or the email from AA. I don't know why, but since they kept saying "phone" I was expecting an SMS/text message. No biggie for me either way.

Edited to add: I just checked the email that showed up on Outlook. The link there is clickable.

- Cut and pasted into the browser, loads a web page boarding pass with a scannable code.

- I bookmarked this BP website on my browser for future reference.

- In my opinion and looking forward, I would HIGHLY recommend bookmarking the page and having it preloaded BEFORE getting in line at security. Last thing you want is to stand in line and find out once you get up to the front that your phone can't display or is slow to load the page. Bad mojo.

- Also, if you have the email sent to a normal POP email address, realize that it may not get to your phone if your computers primary email client has downloaded that email off the server, so either make sure to have the email sent to an address that ALWAYS gets sent to your PDA/BB like an Exchange address or some iterations of gmail.

- I wish the link were clickable, but not a big deal for me. May be for some.

- According to the email that is sent, you can always reprint your BP at the kiosk at the airport. I would assume (have not checked/tried) that you can also reprint from AA.com.

So far, so good. I will post again when I can after the checkin process tomorrow.

Last edited by woojink; Nov 17, 08 at 11:19 am
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Old Nov 18, 08, 9:49 pm
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BP generated fine for me and I cleared security easily at ORD on Sunday. The TSA agent scanned my BP and checked my ID. I did not save the BP to my BB, rather I kept clicking on the link provided in the automated email and it kept regenerating my BP. When I clicked on it after a gate change, the new BP reflected the gate change as well. However, the flight was delayed and as I left the AC at 9pm (after original departure time) and tried to regenerate the BP I kept getting an error. I had to get a printed BP from the agent.
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Old Nov 19, 08, 7:36 am
  #3  
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This seems like far too much work. Am I in that much of a minority that I check in with a kiosk 50% of the time and with an agent the other 50% (when I need something or when there is not a line I'll choose an agent over a kiosk)?
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Old Nov 19, 08, 8:29 am
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Tried it at LAX

I have to say that my experience was not good. There are three points in the check-in/security screening process where you need a boarding pass; Entering the security queue, at the magnetometer, and finally, when boarding the plane. Monday, 11/17 was the first day for this program at LAX, but clearly, personnel at all three points were unaware of how to handle the electronic boarding pass, resulting in confusion, frustration and delays in getting through security and on to the plane.

The TSA agent at the entry to the security checkpoint had a bar code reader and was able to read the boarding pass from my blackberry device. However the agent at the magnetometer was looking for a paper boarding pass and had to go back to the first agent to verify I had a boarding pass before allowing me to proceed through the metal detector.

This has always seemed redundant to me, if you are properly controlling the area between the first checkpoint and the magnetometer, why do you need to recheck the boarding pass after passing through the metal detector? Anyway, while I stood on one side of the metal detector, all of my belongings, including my laptop and blackberry were sitting on the other side of the detector, on the conveyor belt unattended by me, which as a frequent traveler is cause for great concern.

Finally, the AA gate agent was unable to scan the barcode on my blackberry at the gate, and had to enter my information manually, again, causing frustration and delay. You would think that personnel would be trained in the implementation of a new system before deployment.
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Old Nov 19, 08, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by stevedal View Post
You would think that personnel would be trained in the implementation of a new system before deployment.
You mean like the bang-up job AA did at training GAs how to administer Priority crAApcess?
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Old Nov 19, 08, 12:48 pm
  #6  
 
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Well, I have to say, I love technology! I really do. In fact, technology is my career and it's what pays my bills and allows me to travel. Having said that, this really strikes me as a solution looking for a problem. I'm not a fan of technology just for the sake of technology. It should be applied and should be less of a hassle than the problem it's attempting to solve. This simply doesn't cross that threshold for me personally.

And yes, I know the Blackberry folks will scream that this is absolutely necessary to the successful execution of their daily lives (and yes, I have a smart phone too). Ok, whatever. Have fun with it... until your battery dies at a most inopportune time, or you can't get a data connection right when you need to click on that url link which brings up the boarding pass, etc.

I just don't find quickly printing a boarding pass to be that much of a hassle. At times, particularly for my return segment, where I don't have access to a printer, I'll use OLCI via my smartphone and then simply swipe Plat card at airport kiosk and print boarding pass. Just not a big deal for me.

BTW, lest this create an argument (this is FT, right? ) I'll say that I completely respect the point of view and choice for those of you who find value in this and plan to use it. But I remain a skeptic.

And when your fumbling with your phone trying to access the boarding pass in the security line or at the gate and technology is not working perfectly for you that day, that guy behind you making loud, exaggerated sighs to make you feel like an idiot who is slowing down the line, might just be me

Regards
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Old Nov 19, 08, 8:51 pm
  #7  
 
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Just did the Blackberry boarding pass this afternoon LAX-SFO. They have worked out some of the kinks at LAX .. the woman who checks for priority access before you go up the escalators knew what it was, TSA agent scanned the code without problem and handed me a green number tag - handed that to the TSA agent after the metal detector in lieu of showing a boarding pass - and on the way to the gate without problem.

Was going to the AC next to try it out there (still had the webpage up - not saved to the device), but then saw my 4:30 flight was delayed an hour but the previous flight from 2:30 was still at the gate and in last call (this was about 3:15). So thought it would be fun to see how the BB BP does in a last minute stand-by situation?

Showed it to the first GA and she knew what is was, but not exactly what to do with it since she was rushing to close the flight (the screen was just showing the bar code). Luckily other agent took the phone right away, scrolled down to the PNR and other info she needed and cleared me. For the next two seconds had a good old paper boarding pass and then boarded.

My verdict - I like it. Value? There have been lots of times where I have access to a computer to check-in, but no printer - so now can actually have the BP via email vs. having to reprint at a kiosk (small time savings - but I just like heading to the airport with a boarding pass). And it is definitely more environmentally friendly.

In full disclosure I am in a technology field, so things like this appeal to me -- but I think we should be positive about/reward any innovation AA makes these days - there are not so many that actually enhance the experience. I was surpirsed when I saw the email announcing mobile boarding passes - did not expect it from AA - but it worked well enough that I will do the BB BP again in two weeks for my next LAX flight. Between this and internet last week on my LAX-JFK flights it is almost like a new high-tech AA!

Last edited by dbuckho; Nov 19, 08 at 8:56 pm
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Old Nov 19, 08, 9:30 pm
  #8  
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In the experimental section of the Amazon Kindle is a web browser.
My wife let me look at one they use at work.
Last night, I was able to login and view my miles and reservations with seat assignments. Since this is in the "experimental" section, I wouldn't yet rely on it, but it certainly would make me give special consideration to buying one. Unfortunaley, I had trouble logging into gmail, but yahoo worked.
I am curious to see if Kindle can handle the AA BP...

I suspect that if they started to be used for a lot of web activity, the wireless access would no longer be free.
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Old Nov 20, 08, 1:07 am
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Somewhat related, I know some baseball stadiums now allow you to get your ticket on your cell phone. I haven't done it but it sounds similar to this. You get a link you click on to bring up the ticket/barcode on your phone that is scanned when going into the stadium.

I don't really have an opinion one way or another on the BP with phone or tickets for an event on a phone...until I get held up in a line because someone can't pull up their ticket on their phone.
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Old Nov 20, 08, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by jw713 View Post
Somewhat related, I know some baseball stadiums now allow you to get your ticket on your cell phone. I haven't done it but it sounds similar to this. You get a link you click on to bring up the ticket/barcode on your phone that is scanned when going into the stadium.

I don't really have an opinion one way or another on the BP with phone or tickets for an event on a phone...until I get held up in a line because someone can't pull up their ticket on their phone.
I use cellfire, which gives you coupons on your phone.
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Old Nov 20, 08, 3:08 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by dbuckho View Post
In full disclosure I am in a technology field, so things like this appeal to me
I also work in a technology field, but I know that technology is about solving problems, not doing stuff "just because". Mobile boarding passes are cool... but they don't save much time, and they are more of a hassle than just getting a piece of paper. A piece of paper doesn't run out of batteries.

Along those lines, why can't I just use my elite card instead of a boarding pass? This technology used to exist, but then it went away for no good reason. I would love to see that come back.

(FWIW, checking in at the kiosk doesn't really ever add time for me. I take the L to O'Hare, so I come in on the lower level. AA has like 10 kiosks down there that nobody ever uses, so there is absolutely no waiting.)
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Old Nov 20, 08, 3:24 am
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I think they are solving a problem in getting rid of the paper - all companies are trying to be more environmentally friendly - but agree that using your elite card would accomplish the exact same result (though there may be some advantage to the barcode scan system vs magstripe read).
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Old Nov 20, 08, 4:19 am
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I think it's a great idea. I'm going to try it at LAX on the 3rd if I can. Doing LAX-LHR and may not be possible??
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Old Nov 20, 08, 6:13 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by dbuckho View Post
In full disclosure I am in a technology field, so things like this appeal to me --
Interesting, I'm in the technology field too and this holds exactly zero interest to me. Are you per chance in marketing? (sorry I couldn't resist)

Regards
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Old Nov 20, 08, 9:47 am
  #15  
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I think it's a good move. In other countries (Japan being one of the pioneers, I believe), cell phone bar codes are used more prevalently - to pay for subway fares, as coupons scanned in grocery/retail stores, as tickets for events, etc.
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