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Cell phone boarding system unveiled at Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Delta Air Lines passengers at Atlanta's airport are now able to have boarding passes sent to their cell phones.

A new system now in use at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport allows the users of web-enabled mobile phones to download Delta boarding passes onto their phones, and scan them at security checkpoints and departure gates.

"More than 75 percent of our customers are checking in online," said Josh Weiss, a managing director for Delta Air Lines. "We're really excited to bring this [new technology] here."

Hartsfield-Jackson is one of 18 airports nationwide where the cell phone boarding passes are in use, according to airline and transportation security officials.

Once downloaded to a mobile device, the electronic boarding pass is scanned by a bar code reader that allows travelers to go through security, and Delta's gates.

Delta and the Transportation Security Administration began using the electronic scanners at Hartsfield-Jackson a week before announcing it publicly on March 19.

"We've been training officers, and using the device when needed by a passenger," said Pete Ramos, a security training instructor for the TSA.

Delta began using the technology in late 2007, at New York's LaGuardia Airport, and has expanded the program to six other airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson.

Weiss said Delta soon plans to offer the service in Salt Lake City and Orlando, Fla.

The TSA has about a dozen bar code readers at Hartsfield-Jackson's main, north and south security checkpoints, according to TSA spokesman Jon Allen.

While the bar code readers automatically display passengers' information when their mobile device is scanned, according to Ramos, passengers still need to present a government-issued photo ID.

"Once they scan their bar code, the machine gives us their name, flight and date," said Ramos.

Weiss said Delta hopes the mobile electronic boarding passes will be a benefit to passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson.

"Because giving our customers an easy, fast and hassle-free experience is very important with us, we decided with TSA to await the checkpoint expansion project that recently completed," said Weiss. "With that important work behind us, mobile boarding passes proceeded quickly, further reducing customer wait times."