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What is a Boarding Pass?

A boarding pass is your gateway to the skies, a document that grants you access to board an airplane for your designated flight. It contains vital information like your seat number, departure time, and gate. This pass is the key to embarking on your journey, whether for business or pleasure. Ever wondered what all those codes mean? Let's decode them together.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Boarding passes are documents issued by airlines and some other transportation services. The pass is a key document that makes it possible for the passenger to legally board the mode of transportation. Although boarding passes are most commonly associated with airplane flights, and helps to facilitate the boarding process so that the procedure is accomplished in an orderly fashion.

The typical boarding pass generally includes a few basic elements. The name of the passenger, as it appears on the travel reservation, is found on the pass. Along with the name of the traveler, the identification number for the flight or train is almost always included. Rounding out the basic information is the date and time of the departure. Generally, the gate or platform that is scheduled for boarding is also included on the pass.

Boarding passes help passengers to get on a plane quicker before take off.
Boarding passes help passengers to get on a plane quicker before take off.

At one time, it was necessary for the traveler to report to a service desk in order to receive a boarding pass. Over the years, one variation on this process has made it possible to obtain the pass. Along with checking in at a reception station and receiving a boarding pass at that time, many people now choose electronic kiosks to complete the check in process. The kiosk automatically prints out luggage tags and the pass. This process has helped to reduce waiting time, as well as allowed travelers to proceed directly to the correct gate or platform for departure.

In most cases, an airline will not let a passenger board a flight without the proper boarding pass.
In most cases, an airline will not let a passenger board a flight without the proper boarding pass.

Generally, an airline or rail service will not allow a traveler to board without a valid boarding pass. In the event that the boarding pass is damaged or lost between the point of issue and the departure location, most transportation services are able to replace the pass upon verification of your identity and your travel reservation. However, it is important to note that the exact process used by different airlines vary, so the process may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a boarding pass and why is it important?

A boarding pass is a document provided by an airline during check-in, granting a passenger permission to enter the secure area of an airport and board the airplane for a particular flight. It contains vital information such as the passenger's name, flight number, departure time, gate number, and seat assignment. It is essential for airport security and flight management, serving as a traveler's proof of booking and right to be on the flight.

How can I obtain my boarding pass?

You can obtain your boarding pass in several ways: online through the airline's website or mobile app, at airport kiosks, or at the check-in counter. Online check-in typically opens 24 hours before the scheduled departure, allowing you to print your boarding pass or use a digital version on your smartphone. According to SITA's 2019 Air Transport IT Insights, 70% of passengers prefer to use self-service technologies like online check-in and mobile boarding passes (https://www.sita.aero/resources/type/surveys-reports/air-transport-it-insights-2019).

Is a mobile boarding pass as valid as a printed one?

Yes, a mobile boarding pass is as valid as a printed one and is increasingly preferred for its convenience and environmental benefits. Airlines and security agencies worldwide accept mobile boarding passes, which display a QR code to be scanned at security checkpoints and boarding gates. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) encourages the use of mobile boarding passes as part of its Fast Travel Program (https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/fast-travel/).

What should I do if I lose my boarding pass?

If you lose your boarding pass, don't panic. You can usually reprint it at an airport kiosk or request a new one at the airline's check-in counter. If you have a digital copy on your smartphone, you can access it again through the airline's app or email. It's important to have identification with you, as the airline will need to verify your identity before reissuing your boarding pass.

Can I change seats after receiving my boarding pass?

Yes, you can often change your seat after receiving your boarding pass, depending on the airline's policy and availability. You can do this by accessing your booking online, using an airport kiosk, or asking at the check-in counter or gate. Some airlines may charge a fee for seat changes, especially if you're upgrading to a seat with more legroom or other premium features.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

anon268308

Can you buy your ticket at the airport counter if you have booked it by computer and gotten confirmation?

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    • Boarding passes help passengers to get on a plane quicker before take off.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Boarding passes help passengers to get on a plane quicker before take off.
    • In most cases, an airline will not let a passenger board a flight without the proper boarding pass.
      By: HappyAlex
      In most cases, an airline will not let a passenger board a flight without the proper boarding pass.