Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Delta Airlines offers Mobile Check-In

Actually, Delta is not the first. Continental announced their mobile check-in system some months ago. Other airlines may also offer this.

But Mobile Marketer Daily has announced today that Delta Airlines has partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to allow mobile check-in at several of their major hub airports.

I was a fairly frequent flyer during the last half of 2008, as I was splitting my time between Vancouver and Calgary. One logistical challenge that I faced is the fact that, like many people, I don't actually have a functional printer at my house. So printing off airline e-tickets proved to be sometimes challenging.

So how does this mobile version work?

On the day of your flight, you download the boarding pass to your mobile device by accessing their mobile-enhanced website. The pass includes a 2 dimensional bar code that has your passenger and flight info encoded into it (see image).

At security, barcode scanners can read this information off the screen of your phone. Then again at the boarding point, barcode scanners read it.

This allows consumers to download their boarding pass at a time convenient for them, plus saves time standing in linup to check in. Furthermore, it generates one less piece of paper.

Airlines are struggling in todays economy, and this represents a way they can save costs while also providing a more convenient service for the consumer. We have seen other examples of airlines using mobile; Emirates airlines uses text message to contact passengers whose flight has been delayed - often before the passengers have even left their home for the airport.

In 24 months from now, we'll be wondering how we got by without all the uses of mobile. Some of those uses we haven't even thought of yet.

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