I’m a ragtop man. I’ve been known to take a week’s vacation just to drive around the country. I’ve driven from Houston to Miami, Houston to Los Angeles, and Houston to International Falls, MN. Give me a convertible, a full tank of gas, my little dog Samson, and we’ll put the top down and go… Years ago, I had a brand new Mazda Miata with cold air injection, ceramic mandrel bent headers, stainless steel high-flow exhaust, and a zillion other goodies under the hood. It was white with tan leather, roll bar, Fittipaldi wheels and the best rubber Dunlop sold for sports cars. She was a sweet ride. Well, the following summer I was about 800 miles west of Houston, when I found myself on Route 66 in New Mexico in this car, zipping toward California at about 113mph when I was “noticed” by a state trouper. He pulled me over. He was not impressed. He walked up next to me and said, “What’s your hurry?” All I could think to say was, “It’s a new car! Check this out!”
Pride got the best of me. I paid for it. Dearly… All he saw was a college graduate PUNK screaming through his state in a hot little car and now, with the benefit of age, experience, common sense and hindsight, I certainly don’t blame him.
Fast forward a number of years to present day. Again, with more experience this time; I ask you… Check this out:
What you’re looking at are electronic boarding passes, downloaded to smart phones. Yes, those are bar-codes you see and they can be scanned by the gate agent and her nifty laser beam when you board the plane. How infinitely cool is that? No more paper… No more running through the office with your boarding pass saved to a USB memory stick, franticly looking for someone who can print to an office printer at your remote location so you can get home. This looks like a pretty sweet deal to me.
There’s trouble though, hold the phone. First of all, you just know there will be people who wait until the very last minute to try it and they’ll be at a loss to figure it out. So help me, if I’m stuck in line behind the goober who is just now telling the TSA agent, “Hold on, I think if I click here… no, wait, I lost the signal… maybe if I click here…” I will pull his teeth out and throw his phone through the nearest plate glass window.
The next problem is the TSA. What do you suppose the odds are that our government will not only accept this as a legitimate way to pass through security, but that they’ll train their TSA monkeys to understand it?
These are both significant milestones to overcome, but Continental Airlines is willing to test the waters. They’ve embarked on a three month trial, God bless them. Stay tuned, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. I, for one, can’t wait to “Check it out!”