Virgin Australia mobile check-in goes paperless

By Chris Chamberlin , May 9 2014
Virgin Australia mobile check-in goes paperless

Mobile check-in is now paperless on all Virgin Australia domestic flights, with digital boarding passes all that’s needed to step on board.

Previously, electronic boarding passes from mobile check-in were scanned at the gate, although a printed boarding pass had to be produced by the ground crew for presentation at the aircraft door.

Under the new arrangements, travellers will present their phone at the gate for scanning, but also on board the aircraft – removing the need for a hard copy, and extra clutter in the carry-on of frequent travellers.

Here’s what the airline’s mobile boarding passes look like when imported into the Passbook app on the iPhone:

All of the important details are still there – the boarding time is made quite clear, as is the flight origin and destination.

While frequent flyer status isn’t shown in text form, the colouring of the background is adjusted accordingly – making priority boarding hassle-free for those who are eligible.

The paperless system is now available on all domestic flights – including those to regional destinations and where aerobridges aren’t used for boarding – although printed boarding passes are still required for international flights.

As passengers are traditionally asked to switch their phones off when on the tarmac, we asked a Virgin Australia spokeswoman how this would actually work in practice. Here’s what we were told:

“Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations state that guests’ mobile devices can remain switched on whilst transiting on the tarmac, however cannot be in use.”

Between the gate and the aircraft door, passengers must have the phone “stowed within their personal belongings”, before being unlocked and presented to the crew on board.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Atlantic Airways - Flying Club

11 Apr 2011

Total posts 30

Finally! I've always found it strange to be provided the mobile boarding pass (e.g. Passbook) only to be given an additional paper copy at check in or at the gate. Wasteful and unneccesary. Glad to see this procedure is at last being rectified! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

As a QF traveller not a VA flyer, do you get a full boarding pass when using mobile check in currently? Or as QF do, a small thermal printer receipt with your name and seat number?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

@cdinoz - With Qantas, if you present your mobile boarding pass or membership card when boarding the staff at the gate give you the 'receipt' with your flight details which is then checked at the door to direct you to your seat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

@Peter - yes, I know the QF process, was enquiring what the VA process is? Is it similar, or a full BP?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

@cdinoz - Ah, I misunderstood. I believe it's the same (except I don't know if you can just present your membership card with VA) in that you get a similar docket-style boarding pass.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

I usually check-in using my phone and then have the lounge staff print my boarding pass before heading to the gate.

I prefer the tactile characteristics of a cardboard boarding pass, and the ability to keep it afterwards.

 Besides, scanning the mobile boarding pass at the gate can sometimes be quite fiddly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 18

Getting closer, Virgin - but it still doesn't solve the issue for non-Frequent Flyers using Virgin Corporate Plus (travelling Y or B) getting lounge access. A printed boarding pass has the Fare Class printed on it, the Mobile/iOS/Web version only has the Cabin Class.

I've never had a problem with access on a printed boarding pass. I think I'll stick with that.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2011

Total posts 42

The lounge staff scan your mobile boarding pass and the system will give it a green light.

There's no need for a fare bucket to be displayed in order to gain lounge access.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2011

Total posts 42

That's so strange. I wonder why they only decided upon this now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Suspect CASA had something to do with it

Virgin Australia

16 Feb 2013

Total posts 16

so all I need to do now is find out the background color, screenshot, and quickly modify the background for priority boarding! woot!


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