The creepiness of the internet knows no bounds…
It’s quite hard to resist the travel “humble brag”. This age old passage of time involves a quick snap of a boarding pass folded into a passport, with the option of a smiling grin behind it. In the world of Instagram and instant gratification, it’s a pastime too tempting to give up, but depending on who’s looking at it – taking a picture of your boarding pass can ruin your trip. How badly? How about cancelled entirely, with all of your miles stolen!
Before we go all morbid and creepy on you, here are a few fun things you may not know about your boarding pass, like.
- SEQ: is the order in which you checked in. SEQ:001 means you were first, whereas SEQ:200 means you were the 200th person. There’s not much benefit, but fun to know.
- Class J means business, Y means economy, F means First and P means premium. Even if your boarding pass doesn’t say economy, business or whatever, it still secretly does.
- SSSS means you’ll have a slightly longer journey ahead. SSSS on a boarding pass means you’ve been selected for additional screening, sorry.
- Group is your boarding group, and the order in which you should board. That means if you’re in group 12, there’s absolutely no reason for you to stand near the door during group 1 boarding. Just a friendly reminder…
Taking pictures of your boarding pass can have serious trip repercussions, including losing your trip entirely. Unfortunately, that’s not a joke. Your boarding pass contains sensitive information from almost every single angle, and while there are some obvious ones like your record locator, like “G5X7BA”, there are less obvious ones too. Barcodes are what get you on the plane, but they are also exactly what any hacker needs to ruin your trip. With a picture of a barcode, a hacker can…
- Cancel your trip.
- Change your trip, including seats or flights.
- Get access to your reservation and other personal info.
- Potentially use your frequent flyer account.
- Know all your flight details.
Your frequent flyer number is no different to your credit card number – it’s just a different currency. Before you say, well who would care to do something, you should understand just how easy it is to do. Years back security expert Krebs on Security, offered a tutorial. Basically, take a picture of any boarding pass in your house, focus on the barcode and then go to this website. The problem: it works just as well taking a screenshot of someone else’s boarding pass from social media.
Boarding Pass Data
You’ll upload your picture, and the site will quickly tell you every detail like: the record locator, name on reservation, flight number, date, and more. With just two pieces of info like last name and record locator, anyone could easily login online and cancel or change the reservation. Do yourself a quick favor and do it yourself, just to see how easy it is. You’ll never take a picture of your boarding pass, or at least not the barcode again!
If you really do insist upon taking the obligatory boarding pass in passport photo, preferably with a martini or glass of champagne behind it, be sure to…
- Leave out at least most of the barcode.
- Leave out the record locator, the code like 5GSTP6.
- Leave out part of your name, so it’s harder to access.
- Consider waiting until after the flight.
Here’s a perfect not so humble brag photo…