Mobile boarding passes are all the rage these days. An increasing number of airlines can beam the special ‘2D’ barcode image to your smartphone as part of the online checkin process.
On a recent flight from Hong Kong we put Cathay Pacific’s mobile boarding pass through its paces.
The service is currently available only for flights departing Hong Kong and Auckland, although Cathay says it will be progressively introduced across the airline's network.
Unfortunately the boarding pass can’t be issued if you’re checking in via Cathay’s smartphone app, as you might expect.
You’ve got to check in at CathayPacific.com and at the end of the procedure, click the Boarding Pass button and select the option for it to be printed or sent to your mobile.
It’s not an either-or proposition, and I recommend having a copy sent via email as a belt-and-braces approach.
The mobile boarding pass isn’t sent directly to your phone, however: all you get is an SMS message with a weblink to your boarding pass – which means you’re reliant on the airport having free wifi (Hong Kong does, fortunately).
However, I suggest saving a screenshot of your mobile boarding pass if for some reason you can’t call up the web page at the airport.
The iPhone has a quick key combo to do this: briefly hold down the power switch at the top of the iPhone and at the same time, quickly press the home button. The screen will quickly turn white and fade back in, and you’ll hear a click like the sound of a camera shutter. An image of the screen will appear as the last photo in the Camera Roll f the Photos app.
And while a mobile boarding pass means one less piece of paper to collect and carry, it’s certainly more challenging at the airport.
Your smartphone has to be very carefully positioned at the security scanners on entering the departures zone of Hong Kong airport, and again at the boarding gate.
There was a bit of fiddling to get that on-screen squiggle into the right position where the scanners would recognise the 2D code – to be honest, it would have been faster if all they had to do was swipe a conventional paper boarding pass.
Further information on Cathay's mobile boarding pass, including an FAQ and instructions on using the system, can be found at www.cathaypacific.com/mobile_boarding_pass.