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International travellers can look forward to using smartphones to check in for flights departing from Australia, with electronic boarding passes being displayed on the phone rather than having to pick up or print out a paper boarding pass.
Some airlines including Qantas and Emirates have already been trialling mobile checkin for overseas flights, and the technology is now available to all airlines flying out from Australia – without the need to visit a check in counter and show your passport.
The move is aimed at reducing waiting time at airports and will prove a boon for business travellers and frequent flyers, who are typically early adopters of time-saving travel technology in an ongoing effort to streamline their travel, skip queues and maximise their time relaxing in the lounge.
However, for travel to countries where a visa may be required, this may be carried out at the lounge or even at your flight's boarding gate if you opt for mobile check in.
"Last financial year more than 21.4 million travellers were cleared through the border departing Australian international airports," said Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge in announcing this step towards more seamless travel.
"These increasing volumes mean we are always looking for ways to clear legitimate travellers efficiently and seek out those of interest to law enforcement."
It will now be up to each airline to embrace mobile check in and build this into their apps or mobile websites. Australian Business Traveller has contacted several leading airlines to ask when they expect to offer mobile boarding passes and will update this article as each airline responds.
Qantas now offers digital boarding passes for most international flights departing Australia, with some exceptions such as flights to the USA, China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Cathay Pacific and Emirates have advised Australian Business Traveller that mobile boarding passes are available at all Australian airports which the airline serves.
United Airlines also supports mobile checkin for its US-bound flights from Sydney and Melbourne.
Singapore Airlines has been trialling mobile boarding passes for departures from Adelaide and Canberra, and the airline says this will continue to be available, with plan to progressively extend this to other Australian airports.