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We need to list dates of past travel for some immigration purposes. I have a stack of boarding passes which I can use to reconstruct most of it. However, most passes don't show a year. They just show day and month.

Is there a way to find the year? Perhaps from the ticket number? Conformation number. Bar code?

  • Did you book them online? If yes, emails perhaps? (Not the answer to your question I know but thinking of other solutions.) – Ankur Banerjee Jan 3 '16 at 18:41
  • FYI, the year is NOT in the barcode (even the larger PDF417 barcodes). It's also not in the confirmation code. Ticket numbers are normally sequential, so whilst it's not in there either the airline might be able to tell a year based on that - or you might be able to at least put the tickets in order using the ticket number. – Doc Jan 3 '16 at 21:44
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    Do they list the day of the week? (The one I have to hand does - but it also lists the year...) If they have the day, you may be able to make a reasonable guess based on the options - eg "MON 1 JUNE" could only be 1992, 1998, 2009 or 2015... – Andrew Jan 3 '16 at 22:50
  • What purpose requires you to provide exact dates of travel? – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jun 26 '16 at 22:46
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    @JonathanReez one purpose for which this would be useful is to prove one's absence from a country in the face of missing or illegible passport stamps. – phoog Jun 27 '16 at 7:45
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I had the same issue... Go on each airline's website, and check the 'status' of your booking (from the six character booking code on the boarding pass); the details page works for most airlines many years back, and will show you the year.

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    Thanks but that doesn't seem to work. I tried a United boarding pass that happens to be from 2014 but the confirmation number is "not found". I think they only keep very recent number in the system – Hilmar Jan 4 '16 at 17:00
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I've been in this situation as well. Luckily, most of my bookings were online, and I kept the emails. But this didn't work for all my flights.

The other comments and answers contain good hints for various ways to reconstruct the dates. But when all else fails, the best way is to email the airline's customer service department (I think even United has one of those) with the ticket numbers (not the 6-character booking reference) and request they send you ticket details.

I've often wondered why the airlines can't print a year with the month, day on the BPs. I think it's ridiculous to not include a year.

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Indirect sources other than confirmation emails may be:

  • timestamps on pictures taken there
  • emails or snail mails about invitations to that destination (e.g., conference flyer)
  • invoices or receipts for hotels or restaurants, credit card listings
  • people you met there
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Responding to "Perhaps from the ticket number?"

If the boarding pass has the ticket number on it, then as Doc mentions in comments, these are issued sequentially and can possibly be used to determine the rough date, however it requires a little research. Although BA boarding passes don't have ticket numbers on them (apart from mobile ones), they're the ones I have most of so I used those.

I took a sample of about 15 ticket numbers together with the issue date and plugged into a spreadsheet. I divided the difference in ticket number by the difference in days between two tickets. Over the last two years the average increment in ticket number per day ranged from 37000 to 44000. That would be more than sufficient to determine the right year for a given ticket number given one reference ticket with known date. You would need to perform a similar test for the airlines you have BPs for.

You can look at the barcode boarding pass standard here. There doesn't appear to be any other useful field that would indicate the year. This is somewhat surprising following the update of the standard to incorporate digital signatures, as that means that a boarding pass issued one year, will pass the digital signature test on the same day every subsequent year.

  • The barcode includes the PNR and the sequence number. If you had a very good travel agent she might be able to resurrect and modify an old PNR, and insert a new ticket into it, frankly it probably isn't a security hole worth patching. – Calchas Jun 27 '16 at 23:01
  • @Calchas I agree it's pretty minor. After all nothing stops you just buying another ticket to get through security... – Berwyn Jun 27 '16 at 23:15

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