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American Airlines trials Mobile Boarding Passes

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American Airlines customers departing from select airports in the U.S. can now choose to receive their boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or PDAs, saving the time it takes to print out and present a paper boarding pass at the airport.

Mobile boarding passes, which use a two-dimensional (2-D) barcode, have already been introduced for passengers departing on domestic flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and from today, 17 November, mobile boarding passes will be offered as an option for customers departing on domestic flights from Los Angeles International (LAX) and John Wayne Orange County (SNA) airports as well.

The mobile boarding pass program is being rolled out in partnership with the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA). If successful in trial cities, it could be extended to additional U.S. airports in the coming months.

To use the mobile boarding pass option – either with the traditional desktop version of AA.com or the mobile version – customers must have an active e-mail address where their boarding pass may be sent and an Internet-enabled mobile device where the 2-D barcode can be received. Additionally, during the introduction of this new feature, customers may list only one person in their reservation and must be traveling on American or American Eagle nonstop or same-plane direct to a domestic destination from Chicago, Los Angeles or Orange County. Domestic destinations include those within the 50 United States, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The mobile boarding pass process is simple: When customers check in for their flight using American’s website, AA.com – either the desktop or mobile versions – they have the option to receive their boarding passes on their cell phones or PDAs. If this option is selected, they will get an e-mail with an Internet link to their boarding pass. The mobile boarding pass contains a 2-D barcode that can be scanned at TSA security checkpoints and at American Airlines gates. At the airport, customers simply scan their cell phone or PDA screen when going through Security (proper identification must be presented) and when boarding, just as they would a traditional paper boarding pass.

Customers wishing to check bags can also use the new option by scanning the boarding pass on their cell phone or PDA screen at American Airlines self-service machines, ticket counters, or curbside check-in facilities.

Customers who check in online and wish to print a paper boarding pass are still able to do so. At the end of the online check-in process on AA.com, customers can now choose how they would like to receive their boarding pass by selecting either “Print” (customers can print the pass at that time, or use a self-service check-in machine to print at the airport), “E-mail for Print” (boarding pass is emailed and customers can print at their convenience), or “E-mail for use on Cell Phone or Other Device” (customers receive an electronic boarding pass via email on their cell phone or mobile device, which would then be presented at the airport).

“Mobile boarding via AA.com is the latest way American Airlines is making travel as easy and convenient as possible, especially for our customers on the go,” said Mark DuPont, American’s Vice President – Airport Services Planning. “Customers who choose this option can bypass printing a boarding pass at their home, office or even at the airport to board their plane. They can go straight to Security and then to the aircraft.”

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