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What Is a Boarding Pass?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon268308 — On May 13, 2012

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

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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