Cell phones are already the ticket to mobile communication, but before long, they’ll be your airline ticket as well.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) just announced a global standard that will eventually allow passengers to check in for flights using a bar code sent to their cell phones.
This International Herald Tribune article goes into more detail, but here are the basics of how it will work when widespread adoption goes into effect in 2010: When you book your flight, you’ll register your cell phone number and then receive a text message containing a bar code that will serve as your boarding pass. During check-in, a scanner will read the bar code directly off your cell phone screen. According to an MSNBC.com article on the topic, passengers will also have the option of receiving the bar code by email and printing it out. This is all part of a plan to phase out those old-time paper tickets.
When this happens, my favorite walking-out-the-door mantra of “tickets, passport, money,” is going to need some revising.