TSA and Continental Airlines expand paperless boarding pass program as San Francisco International Airport begins pilot

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Local Press Release
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Continental Airlines announced today the expansion of the Paperless Boarding Pass pilot program at San Francisco International Airport. The program allows passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which are then scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint. The need for a paper boarding pass is eliminated.

"We are pleased to be able to partner with Continental Airlines to expand this program that helps our officers validate authentic boarding documents," said Ed Gomez, TSA Federal Security Director for San Francisco.

"This new technology highlights TSA's ongoing commitment to develop and implement new programs while enhancing security."

Each paperless boarding pass displays a two-dimensional tamper-proof bar code along with passenger and flight information that identifies the traveler. TSA travel document checkers use 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.

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. Continental is the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes and offers the service now at 21 airports.

"Today more than two-thirds of our customers check in for their flights prior to arriving at the airport," said Jared Miller, Continental's Senior Director of Customer Self Service. "Our innovative mobile boarding pass product is the type of self service technology that our customers have told us has value - it saves them time and allows them to take more control of their travel experience."

The TSA paperless boarding pass pilot is currently operating at 30 airports including San Francisco. The pilot is consistent with the global standard of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for bar coding of passenger boarding passes. TSA will continue expanding the use of electronic boarding pass scanners at the pace of participating airlines.

For more information about TSA, see the Web site at www.tsa.gov.