Your boarding pass is so much more than you think it is.
It’s not just the beeping thing that gets you on the plane, it’s the key to earning miles towards future travel and the gatekeeper of weird personal info about you too. Yes, some of which may be fairly personal.
Any walk through the airport is always a visual “what not to do” guide for boarding passes, so here are a few tips which will get you rolling in miles and more, without the shock horror that can follow.
Keep Your Pass Until Your Miles Post
For a variety of reasons we’ll discuss below, you’ll eventually want to discard of your boarding pass safely and securely. But before you do, make sure your miles post.
In most cases, frequent flyer miles are automatically added within days of your flight, but there are endless cases where a system error occurs and they never show. Or, in even more cases, they show up incorrectly.
When this happens, some airlines demand a copy of a physical boarding pass before they cough up your points and elite status credit. It’s not fair, but it’s a great reason to hang onto your boarding pass until the miles officially hit your account.
Take Caution Taking Pictures
If you’ve seen headlines over the years telling you that people can steal your personal information from your boarding pass, it’s totally true.
Not only that, a mean person could legitimately cancel your trip and leave you stranded in a foreign country all from one revealing boarding pass photo. So yeah, let that humble brag wait until the round trip, or journey is completed.
The bar codes on your boarding pass reveal your name, booking confirmation code and frequent flyer data, so make sure to cover up barcodes and any other sensitive info. Here’s a full primer on that.
Check The Back For Discounts
Emirates has been a prime example of blowing peoples minds with boarding pass discounts. Some airlines use boarding pass promos to turn the travel cards into a membership card offering travelers up to 50% off at stores, restaurants and more.
Airlines are always looking for new ways to make money, and the back of many a boarding pass have become hallowed advertising ground. Whether it’s a discount on hotels at your destination or a coupon to save on luggage, it’s worth exploring what’s on the back of your boarding card.
Some airlines offer free transit hotels to passengers who present their boarding card during a long overnight connection.
Actually Keep The Luggage Sticker
In some countries, baggage areas are secure and serious spaces. If you want to leave with your bag you must show your baggage receipt and boarding pass.
That, and if your bag doesn’t turn up, you’ll want the sticker with the tracking info to hand to the airline.
People love peeling that flimsy sticker off their boarding pass and when you reconnect with your bags and leave the airport, that’s totally ok – but if you do so before then, you may seriously wish you didn’t.
Nerd Out With It To Pass Time
Did you know the “seq” number on your boarding pass represents the order in which you checked in? Or, that if you find an SSSS on your boarding pass after check in that you’re going to get a full on pat down?
Sequence: 001 would mean you were the first person to check in for the flight. You probably know where you’re sitting, but there’s little things like “J” mean business class, whereas “Y” means economy.
Anything to make the time tick, right? Oh, and pay attention to your boarding group number if you want to make friends.
Shred It Don’t Spread It
When you’ve taken advantage of discounts, gotten your miles and collected all your luggage, the boarding pass has fulfilled all of its official uses.
At this point you can either save it in a personal folder or do something artsy, like lacquer all of yours onto a cool table. If you’re not going to be quite that sentimental or travel geeky, the best thing to do is shred your boarding pass. Don’t just chuck it.