Don’t fold your boarding pass on the bar code!

Yesterday was a very dramatic travel day, involving delayed flights, last minute connections, and dramatic sprints through the airport. It all passport and ticketstarted with an issue I’d never seen before, and wanted to share so you can avoid this in the future!

At Newark the security lines were mercifully short. As I got to the Pre-check line I noticed a gentleman in front of me pulling his boarding pass out of his bag. He had printed it at home, and folded it so it would fit in the pocket of his briefcase. When he got to the front of the line the TSA agent tried to scan it but nothing happened. He tried to scan it again. Nothing. Eventually the agent realized that it had been folded, and the crease had crossed the barcode. No matter how much he smoothed or flattened it, the machine couldn’t read it. Eventually he had to send the poor man back to the kiosk to print out a new one.

I never print out my boarding pass at home anymore, but even when I did it never occurred to me that the machines may not be able to scan it properly if it was folded in the wrong place. When I asked the TSA agent about it he said it doesn’t happen often but it’s very frustrating for everyone when it does. He said it also occasionally happens with kiosk-printed boarding passes too. You can bet I will be much more careful about shoving my boarding pass in my bag from here on out!

Readers, have you had an issue with a boarding pass being scanned?

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  1. Lately, I have repeatedly had problems with my home-printed UA boarding passes, regardless of where I fold them. Something isn’t right about this, and UA needs to freaking fix it!

  2. I like to put my boarding pass in a book or magazine when I get it so it doesn’t get crumbled up. I did the same thing when I would have to travel with my child’s birth certificate.

  3. Unless it is an international flight where system does not allow me to have an electronic boarding pass I only use Passbook on my iPhone to store my domestic boarding passes.

  4. Well I am feeling very much behind the times. Do you not print out your boarding pass at home because you have it on your phone? I need to learn to do that1

  5. I always use paper boarding passes for a variety of reasons:

    1) Sometimes clients want more proof than an e-ticket receipt. A hard-copy boarding pass proves you got on the flight (it can be checked through an airline).

    2) Many airports outside the US do not have EBP scanners. You MUST check in (at least in China) and are given an old fashioned cardboard BP.

    3) Sometimes you run out of juice for your phone.

    I find that paper BP if folded where the old perforation would be (separating the part that is/was collected and the larger part) fit almost perfectly in a US passport.

  6. @gene maybe it’s time to change the ink cartridge? Never had an issue with home-printed BP.

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