Paperless airport · Jul 27, 10:56 am

I was a little thrown in the early morning last week when I was dropped of at Terminal 2 for my flight to San Francisco, rather than at my usual Terminal 1. I try not to be a creature of habit, but when I’ve got up at insane-O-clock to catch a flight, routine is good. But one change to the routine was nice: I was able to use my phone from check-in to gate as my ticket at long last.

This may seem like a trivial thing to get excited about, but it means one less thing to worry about as you move your way through the airport. Modern paper boarding passes are a shadow of their cardboard-based former glory, being printed on the easiest to crumple bits of paper, and are easy to lose in amongst your reading material. Particularly annoying is if, like me, you stack them in your passport, which will leave half of them to be exposed and impossible to guarantee they’ll still be readable by the time you make it to the gate. It’s like some kind of cruel gameshow challenge.

I tend to fly United long haul (a habit ingrained on me by my time at Intel), and United have supported iOS’s passbook since day one, but it’s take two years for Heathrow to catch up. This minor change means I have one less thing to worry about on my way through the gate – all of us are now trained to remember to look after our phones and know where they are at all times. I’ve spent a bunch of time trying to change the things I can about my travel setup to reduce the stress of moving through airports, but there’s little I can do on certain things, so I’m pleased to see a dent in the set of things I have no control over.

On a related note, it’s also nice to see the restrictions on electronic device use for takeoff relaxed, though oddly enough not on landing. I assume this is because there’s some vague hope you’ll survive a crash on landing and they want you ready to leap into action, whereas a similar incident on takeoff you want your passengers to be as distracted as possible‚Ķ

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