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Boarding Passes on i-Pad?

This may be a really stupid question, but here goes. We have had some issues with boarding passes we ran off our printer that would not read properly, just happened again last week in Newark causing lengthy unnecessary back and forth. We do NOT use smartphones. However, we both have i-Pads, so we have the ability to have our passes issued issued by email and to open and save the pdf file of the boarding pass on our pads (so that being out of wi-fi range would not matter). Is there any reason we cannot use our i-Pads (8" Minis) to scan though both security and gate controls the same way everyone else uses their phones to do so?

Posted by
7196 posts

I don't own a smart phone either .
I used an Android tablet 7 inch display.
It worked going with the TSA scanner and opening the security gates in Europe during my trip 3 weeks ago
But I downloaded the airline's ap to display the QR code. The aps work also with or without internet as the data is stored on the device. I find the airline ap with the boarding pass more convenient than opening a PDF.

Posted by
2477 posts

Jazz -wouldn't that mean downloading an app for each airline we would use? Liek I said, we are both 65, my wife was a librarian, and we are technologically challenged.

Posted by
7196 posts

Only download the ap for the airlines you are using on a specific trip.
My last trip I had Aer Lingus and Easy Jet. I uninstall them when I'm done.
An ap only takes a few minutes to download.
Less clunky than a PDF for sure. By the way I am 50 a professional academic e-resource librarian.

Posted by
2560 posts

Check in online. Then at the airport every airline has kiosks these days. Swipe a credit card or enter your confirmation code and your boarding passes will spit out. Adds 5 minutes to your airport time.

Posted by
7196 posts

Yeah I agree with Alan and the old school option also instead of trying to display a PDF on a tablet as your boarding pass if your printer at home does not work. A matter fact when you fly back from Europe to the USA more than likely you will not be able to checkin online, or on an ap or at the airport kiosk to get a boarding pass as there is extra screening.

Posted by
492 posts

You certainly could display your boarding pass in email and scan that with your iPad. Keep in mind, though, that lots of airport boarding pass scanners are built with smart phones in mind, so might not offer up the unobstructed surface area needed in order to easily scan a boarding pass on a larger device. Having said that, the nifty thing about QR codes is you often only need a quick scan of even a portion of it from any angle for it to be effectively read - way better than old-fashioned barcodes.

iPhones have the Wallet app, in which you can store boarding passes for quick and easy access. The wallet app isn't available on the iPad, so it wouldn't be an option for ya. That leaves email, or PDF files your only options unless you were to download airline apps. If you're committed to going the iPad route, I'd recommend doing it through the airline apps - if their app is well-configured for an iPad and its larger size, it should display your boarding pass' QR code in a way that's most easily scanned (closer to the edges of the display, for instance).

Posted by
2477 posts

Alan--we always check-in online. At Newark, we were not allowed to print our passes at the Kiosk, we were mandated to the check-in counter to get our passes, becasue apparently IcelandAir must check every passenger's passport (even after supplied online) and then review their baggage (which may be a Newark procedure as we saw other flights also requiring inspection at the gate prior to boarding) We normally fly from Philadelphia, on our one and only Lufthansa flight from here. As there is only one flight, Lufthansa does not use the Kiosks there. We have never had a problem checking-in online in Europe.

But in any event, I thank all. It seems to be a consensus that the bar code can be read from our i-pad same as from a phone.

Posted by
7196 posts

if their app is well-configured for an iPad and its larger size, it should display your boarding pass' QR code in a way that's most easily scanned (closer to the edges of the display, for instance).

Exactly what I found using my android tablet after downloading the airline ap and why I recommend it.

Posted by
2560 posts

For international flights a passport check at the counter is mandatory. Does not matter if you have a pre-printed boarding pass or one downloaded onto your electronic device, or if you’ve entered your passport info. An agent must see your passport and document your docs are OK, usually with a stamp.
EDIT: you’ll know if your boarding pass has a statement such as “International-check passport” or the like.

Posted by
7196 posts

Not exactly; my last trip 3 weeks ago Aer Lingus checked my passport when I was boarding and not at the counter. I checked in online on the ap on the fly entering the APIS info and went through security to the boarding gate

Posted by
809 posts

When I check in online with United, it sends me an email with the following instructions:

Please use one of the following options to retrieve your boarding documents:

Option 1: Display your boarding passes on your mobile device

Flight UA1785
Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)

View boarding passes - this is a link to the app

Option 2: Print the attached boarding passes
The attachments are designed to be printed and cannot be displayed on your mobile device.

Option 3: Print your boarding documents from united.com or at an airport kiosk

It looks like you cannot just open the pdf on your iPad and use that for boarding. But I don’t know if all airlines follow the same procedures. Why not ask the airline you will be using?

Posted by
2477 posts

And only on 2 of our 3 flights out of Newark have we had to check at the counter. We have never been asked to do so out of Philadelphia, it is always scanned at the gate. The two times we flew out of Madrid and Zurich we had to go to the counter, but never on any of our many flights out of Frankfurt, nor on exits from the U.K. And in those two instances, Madrid and Zurich, when we did online check-in we were informed that boarding pass could not be issued except at the counter.

Posted by
4933 posts

It looks like you cannot just open the pdf on your iPad and use that for boarding.

Why not? Looks like Option 1 to me. It doesn't say you have to display them using the app.

I have gotten in the habit of taking screenshots of my boarding passes while they are displayed in the app, so in case I accidentally close the app, can't login, lose my internet connection, etc. I still have the screenshoot (basically a PDF) stored on the phone itself; the QR code can be scanned just like what is displayed in the app.

Posted by
11253 posts

Every airline, at some point before your international flight, will check you passport. Some at check in, some at the gate, some at a separate desk if you just have carry on. But it will be checked. Why if they already have your information? Because you need the passport to enter into your arrival country. And if an airline carries you without the passport, they will get fined.

Last year, while going through TSA Precheck I was the only person online. The TSA agent was friendly and I asked which they preferred--paper or electornic boarding passes. He said paper because he had seen too often where something happens to the device and it holds up the line.

I usually print my boarding pass out if I can and keep a backup copy on my phone. I, too, have had problems having my boarding pass show up electronically. It really depends on the app and the airline.

Downloading your boarding pass to your mini Ipad should be just like having it on a smartphone.

Posted by
21076 posts

There is a tleast one budget airline in Europe, RyanAir, that charges an appalling amount of money if a passenger arrives at the akrport and needs to print his boarding pass there, even if he checked in online previously. I do not knowmwhether there are any other airlines with such appalling fees, but I would absolutely not count on airport printing as a plan, even as a back-up plan, unless
I had double- and triple-checked the airline's website to be sure there were no such confiscatory fees listed.

Posted by
408 posts

“Check in online. Then at the airport every airline has kiosks these days.“

Be careful of some of the budget carriers. RyanAir wants you to arrive at the airport with a printed boarding pass. If you opt to have them print it at the airport it’s a hefty charge (e.g., 40-euro per).

Posted by
84 posts

We aren’t old- which is a state of mind. The polite TSA agents at our international airport also aren’t old. I inquired (on a slow day & time) as to the reliability of boarding passes on devices. He told me that mostly they are fine, but not always and that if you have a paper copy convenient, they will wait for you to pull it from your bag, so that you don’t have to start over.

Posted by
2560 posts

Acravens concern about boarding pass printing fees are real, but its still very uncommon. The legacy airlines are not doing it. Ryanair is famous for it. In the US Spirit charges and in S. America there are a few budget carriers that do. So, as a backup plan it’s still valid for the OP. For all my working years with numerous flights monthly I used my smartphone. But, for international travel I still like a paper boarding pass and I know the ones the airline prints will work. As for passport checks prior to an international flight-it appears airports and airlines vary, but, as a previous poster stated, someone from the airline will be scanning your passport at some point.

Posted by
2914 posts

I have the airline app downloaded on my device: iPod or mini-pad. I, too, do not use a smart phone. However, I also print them if I can or get a paper copy at the airport. Internationally, I fly British Airways and the gate or desk attendants have all said they much prefer paper, so I try to oblige. That being said, by having the airline app, you will also automatically have it on the device.

To answer the question, the iPad will work fine so you don't need to worry about not having paper. Or, you can have it printed at the airport. I'm sure someone will know if the kiosk will print one out as I've never used a kiosk for that solely. Because I usually check my carryon, the desk attendant is happy to print a boarding pass for me if I had a problem at home or was in the midst of traveling and couldn't.