Is Paperless Airline Boarding About To Explode?

For frequent fliers at select airports, paperless boarding is no big deal. In fact, it's a way of life they adopted well over a year ago. But for many, they still have to search tirelessly to find which pocket they crammed their boarding pass into before stripping down and cruising through security. In an effort to get more and more travelers onto flights without any additional paper (and paperwork), the Transportation Security Administration and Continental Airlines have jointly announced the expansion of the Paperless Boarding Pass pilot program at San Diego International Airport.

The program will allow passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which will then be scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint and eliminate the need for a paper boarding pass. Mike Aguilar, TSA Federal Security Director for San Diego, had a few words to say on the topic, and it got us thinking about how the industry as a whole could be changing:

"The deployment of the paperless technology signifies TSA's ongoing commitment to develop and implement new technologies while enhancing security. We are pleased to be able to partner with Continental Airlines to expand this program that will help our officers validate authentic boarding documents."

With more and more smartphones being purchased these days, and airlines looking for every possible way to cut costs/add fees, the mass expansion of paperless boarding seems inevitable. In fact, we'd say the barcode boarding process is the next big thing to explode. Could you imagine airlines giving a small discount for passengers checking in via cellphone?

It'd go a long way to improving public perception of them, and it would help them keep costs lower all the while. The TSA paperless boarding pass pilot is currently operating at 22 airports including San Diego, but we have a feeling that number will increase dramatically over the next 12 to 24 months. Has anyone tried boarding via a barcode on their smartphone? Was the process any better than usual?  Chime in below, in the comments...