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When you check in online with JetStar, it offers you 2 options for getting and using your boarding pass:

  1. Receive a link by SMS (and not by email) to the boarding pass to be added to the Google/Apple Wallet app. When boarding, you need to open the app and show the boarding pass in it.

  2. Receive an email with PDF boarding pass. This needs to be printed out, and the paper needs to be presented when boarding.

In option #2, what is the rationale for requiring the PDF pass to be printed out? Why can't the PDF just be shown from the screen?

Related question: in option #1, why can't the link be received by email?

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  • I am not familiar with the company, is JetStar a low cost airline that charges for things like printing your boarding pass at the airport?
    – Willeke
    Mar 23 at 7:18
  • @Willeke Not sure if they charge for that (I didn't try), but they're kind of a lowcoster indeed: carry-on allowance is strictly 7.0 kg for the combined weight of the bag and the hand item.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 23 at 9:38
  • Option #1 might be because of the way their system is set up to interact with the app. Also, people tend to react more quickly to SMS; emails can be overlooked or end up in junk mailbox. Option #2 is more ‘old school’ and might be to do with the ability of their scanning equipment to read the pdf bar code on screen. They don’t offer both options for all flights
    – Traveller
    Mar 23 at 10:11
  • Don’t they also have an app which would allow you to show the code directly and/or add the code to your wallet?
    – jcaron
    Mar 23 at 11:19
  • @jcaron Probably, as saw they suggested 3 apps: Apple wallet, Google wallet and something else. I already had Google wallet so could not be arsed to install another app.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 23 at 11:40

2 Answers 2

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Having done option #2, I am now doing #1, and I think the rationale in question may be to ensure streamline barcode scanning at the gate, and to minimise delays.

When one opens a boarding pass in Google Wallet, the barcode is automatically positioned in the centre of the screen, and its brightness is forcibly boosted. This is obviously to ensure easy scanning (low brightness makes it unreliable or impossible). That is why if the boarding pass is to be scanned from the screen, it is better stored and accessed from an app specifically designed for it rather than simply by opening a PDF file.

With paper, there is no brightness problem, and barcode positioning is quick and easy.

why can't the link be received by email?

It certainly can, but, perhaps, SMS is seen the most accessible (and sufficient) option.

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  • 2
    If you send an SMS you know the user receives it on their mobile phone and from there it’s easy to add to the wallet. If you send an e-mail, some people are likely to open it on their desktop computer and then not know how to get it onto their phone. Confusion ensues, and calls to the service center or delays during boarding.
    – jcaron
    Mar 23 at 11:16
  • 1
    In my experience paper is generally not faster. It's often crumbled or needs be pulled out of some hard to access pocket.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 23 at 13:09
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@Greendrake's answer is perfect, I just have a little addition to the email part.

For some weird reason that I do not understand, most reservations I have seen which are done by travel agencies or businesses will have the correct person's mobile phone number but will have the agency/business email and not the traveler's, both of these emails might not be available on the traveler's phone.

SMS can be accessed even in a non-smart feature-phone such as Nokia 3310 while emails cannot.

This airline is basically trying to ensure that you arrive at the airport with the best possible option that will save them time and effort.

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  • Certainly if it's work travel, they're likely to use your work email address, because travel is work-related, the address is stored in corporate systems, the provenance is clear should you reply to the travel agent, they may forward/CC to your boss/colleagues, and your email/username may be used by other systems (expenses, etc). There may also be a perception that SMS to a personal number is more secure than personal email; this might be true with some email providers, but SMS isn't really that secure either.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 26 at 11:25

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