TSA and Continental Airlines expand paperless boarding pass program

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Boarding pass pilot extended to three new airports
National Press Release
Friday, April 25, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Continental Airlines announced today plans to continue the rollout of the Paperless Boarding Pass pilot program to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Newark (N.J.) International Airport and Logan International Airport in Boston over the coming weeks. This innovative approach will allow passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which will then be scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint, eliminating the need for a paper boarding pass. Continental is the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes.

Each paperless boarding pass will display an encrypted two-dimensional bar code along with passenger and flight information that will identify the traveler. TSA travel document checkers will use hand-held scanners to validate the authenticity of the paperless boarding pass sent to Continental passengers. The new technology heightens the ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes while improving customer service and reducing paper use.

"The deployment of the paperless technology, with Continental Airlines, signifies TSA’s ongoing commitment to develop and execute new technologies within aviation while enhancing security," said Karen Burke, federal security director, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. "These paperless boarding pass pilots are a significant step towards ensuring that fraudulent boarding passes cannot be used to gain access to the sterile side of airports."

TSA created the concept of how to scan the paperless boarding passes and Continental Airlines developed an implementation plan that involved encrypting the paperless boarding pass to ensure authenticity. "We are pleased to take part in this pioneering concept that provides enhanced security and customer service to our passengers," said Mark Bergsrud, Continental Airlines senior vice president, Marketing Programs and Distribution. "Continental Airlines is committed to innovation and leveraging technology to the benefit of our customers."

The paperless boarding pass pilot is consistent with the global standard in the International Air Transport Association for bar coding of passenger boarding passes. This joint effort between Continental Airlines and TSA will enable the airline industry to look forward to a paperless check-in process.

The first paperless boarding pass pilot began in Houston in December of 2007, and is still ongoing. Since the initial launch, enhancements have been made to the paperless boarding pass to improve the readability of the bar code on a wider variety of mobile devices.

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