Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Printing Boarding Passes Is A Ripoff

Today was yet another reason to forgo printing your boarding pass at home. Why? The sophisticated logic of the humble airline check-in kiosk, specifically United's.

When I went to check in online before my flight today, I was offered the ability to print my boarding pass. That's it. I actually got sidetracked, so I failed to. When I got to the airport, the kiosk check-in offered me:
  1. To volunteer to give up me seat in return for a free RT ticket, if needed. No obligation; I just would be the first on the list to be called upon, in case they overbooked.
  2. To change my seat and see all of the seats open around me, up to date with who had already checked in.
  3. To submit for an upgrade to first class.
  4. To optionally look at other flights, since mine looked to be delayed.
  5. To buy 5" more legroom in Economy Plus.
  6. To buy the ability to double or triple my mileage for the flight for the frequent flyer program.
  7. To buy the ability to get to the front of the Security line and be among the first to board.
And all of this in less than 30 seconds. Plus, the kiosk prints the boarding pass on hardy stock that can be automatically processed by the gate agent, instead of them attempting to wrestle with a scanner for that smudged barcode.

With all of these advantages, why on Earth would you bother with printing at home?

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