In the future, your cell phone will serve as your airplane boarding pass.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced recently that a global standard for cell phone bar codes has been established. When you buy a ticket, you can register your cell phone number with the airline. A bar code will be sent by text message to your phone. When it's time to board your flight, flash your phone at the ticket agent. He or she will scan the bar code displayed on your phone. The cell phone bar code will help airlines phase out paper boarding passes by 2010, says IATA.
I like this idea. I'm always fearful that, somewhere in the airport, I'll lose my boarding pass and there will be Hell to pay.
But using your cell phone instead of a paper boarding pass won't be without potential peril, either. For example: What will happen if your cell phone battery dies just before you approach the ticket agent? What if, in your haste to hand over your cell phone, you drop it and crack the screen? What happens if the phone rings just as the ticket agent has it in his or her hands and the caller ID identifies the caller as 'Love Machine'?
I guess the process of flying by plane, no matter how paperless it becomes, will never be without its little frustrations and humiliations.