13

I wonder what the downsides are of putting a copy of one's boarding pass online.

  • For what purpose? – Greg Hewgill Jun 28 '15 at 21:44
  • E.g. Identify theft – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 28 '15 at 22:07
  • 3
    No, I mean, what would be the purpose of putting a copy of a boarding pass online? – Greg Hewgill Jun 28 '15 at 22:17
  • 1
    E.g. asking a question about boarding passes. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 28 '15 at 22:20
  • @Greg This question spawned out of the comments to this one – cpast Jun 28 '15 at 22:32
12

It depends how detailed the boarding pass is!

Probably the most useful information on the boarding pass is your frequent flier number. This is often printed in full. Together with your name, address and other information obtained elsewhere it may be possible for someone to purchase instant flights with the miles on the other side of the planet from your account.

Depending what value you put on your accumulated miles and how many you have, of course this can be a theft running into the thousands of US dollars.

Theft of frequent flier miles is becoming very common and is difficult to prevent, because essentially you rely on the IT skill of your airline. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/frequent-flyer-miles-stolen-from-american-and-united-airlines-passengers-011315.html (mirror)

The remaining information could be used to compromise your reservation if not yet flown but there should be no further repercussions without access to other documents; although if combined with other information about you knowledge of your travel history could of course be useful.

Usually, the boarding pass does not contain the ticket number, although the old-style AA boarding passes do. The name and ticket number is sufficient in most cases for someone to access and tamper with your reservation.

Usually the boarding pass does not explicitly (in writing) contain the Passenger Name Record (PNR) locator; a five or six digit alphanumeric code that the airlines use to track your reservation. However, some boarding passes "printed at home" do contain this. This is sufficient, usually with your name, to access and modify the booking, and reveal all other information on the booking. You should treat the PNR locator as though it were a password.

However this information is often encoded in the barcode or in the QR code; so you should blur that out.

11

If it has your booking number on it, somebody could use it to access your reservation on the airline's website and tamper with it (e.g., cancel or change flights). An obvious countermeasure is to just blur if it is not essential for your purpose.

  • 1
    Theoretically someone could reproduce your boarding card and use it to get on the flight instead of you (assuming they had other convincing IDs). But to pull this off they would also need to prevent you getting on the flight. That second part sounds more complicated than the first. – DJClayworth Jun 29 '15 at 3:25
  • @DJClayworth and they would have to do all this in the hour or two between the printing of the pass and the departure of the flight. This assumes that you post the picture immediately after you receive the boarding pass, of course. – phoog Jun 29 '15 at 4:45
9

People will know when you are not at home and might use this information to break into your home.

6

If the flight has already transpired; then the risk is only that of information disclosure; of which there is limited use (all they would know is your name, which is easily Googled).

I would blur the reservation number (if its printed on the boarding pass) for flights that are in the future as most airlines require just the last name and booking reference to access complete flight information - which may include your passport details (and passport details of those in your party) if you have supplied such advanced passenger information online.

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