As a self-confessed technophile, my default position is to embrace the new.
I had noticed that seasoned travellers now seem to favour the mobile phone version of the boarding card when flying, so I have joined them. I couldn’t bear to be left behind and after all it is more ecologically sound, surely, to dispense with all that paper and ink.
On only my second foray into modern travel however, I hit a glitch. The first leg of my flight to Maine was delayed so instead of having nearly five hours to negotiate the terminals at Philadelphia, I ended up with around 45 minutes, tight but not impossible. It was 8-15 ish pm USA time. My luggage had to be collected and then checked on to Bangor Maine.
Immigration and baggage checking was a matter of ten minutes remarkably. The connection was doable. Then I met Ms Implacable on security outbound. I presented my phone with its facsimile of a boarding card bearing a square data matrix barcode. ‘We can’t read a BA barcode; you need to get a paper one’ she said. I explained I had only minutes, even seconds, to make my connection and surely she could read that the Boarding Pass was appropriate for the flight? She repeated her demand and already there was an edge of ‘If you try to get past me again without a physical boarding card, I will get to use my considerable array of weaponry under this desk. Where was the check-in desk? Two floors down, other end of the concourse. There was no one there. My plane left without me.
I spent twenty minutes arguing with the reps of American Airlines who were the lucky providers of my next flight about where I could spend the next twelve hours, hoping to get on the next (currently full) flight. The inbound flight, though a BA one, had been booked via American and I had to remind them of their much vaunted One World partnership before I was eventually given a voucher for a distant one star hotel that was badly in need of a clean.
So my desire to join the 21st Century travel vanguard has waned. The bar code readability in the USA can’t have just been discovered that day, so why was I given the option of printing it online?
Be warned. Stay simple and ecologically unsound.