Those who fly internationally know the drill of inputting via their keyboard (or the old fashioned way, at the check-in counter) their passport information during the check-in process which the airline adds to the fliers individual Passenger Name Record (PNR). Leave it to United Airlines to streamline the process.
Launched yesterday, August 8th, United is providing an app allowing their customers the ability to scan their passports during mobile check-in for international flights via their iOS and Android mobile devices.
The app as noted above is available during check-in (24 hours prior to flight) for international fliers. Once a passenger engages the app during the check-in process they will have the option of verifying existing information on file (usually inputted during the ticket purchase) or to scan their passport using the built-in camera phone available on the majority of smart phones. A third party entity, Jumio Inc. a credentials management company, will then verify the passport for additional security. Once completed, passengers will receive their mobile boarding pass.
For those fliers traveling to destinations which only require a valid US Passport for entry the passenger can conceivably travel without showing their passport again before landing at their destination. For those destinations which require visas (usually stamped in the passport by the destination country prior to travel) an in-person passport review will still be completed prior to embarking on the flight.
While the technology is not new i.e. has been used for mobile banking, the convenience is welcoming. Just a few additional thoughts for travelers using the app.
• For those traveling to the international destinations served by United non-stops originating from Denver International Airport, the app should be an added convenience.
• Do not pack your passport, you will still need to have the passport available upon arrival at your destination and reviews before you depart may still happen. Also if your luggage is lost, so is your passport.
• If you are connecting via a different airline to a destination which requires a visa, you may still be able to use the app. However you will still need the visa and if not valid, there is a chance you could be stranded at the connecting airport.
Kudos to United Airlines which was the first US based airline to embrace mobile check-in dating back in 2007, the option now available for boarding at all 214 domestic airports and 54 international airports United offers service in. Any additional options to streamline the check-in process is welcome to travelers.