Tips & Tricks for Savvy Travellers - Understanding Your Boarding Pass

Boarding passes may seem like just another bit of junk paper to toss as soon as they’ve served their purpose, but those boarding passes contain information that can be useful to bad guys and harmful to you.

boarding pass

 The vulnerability in these passes lies in that QR code, the square bit filled with unintelligible squiggles. QR stands for “quick response” and QR codes can do lots of nifty things.

In fact, travel agents can use QR codes as part of their marketing arsenal!

But the QR code on boarding passes encodes personal information about the traveller.

Anyone with a QR scanner on an Apple iPhone or Android smartphone [links do not constitute an endorsement from me] can scan that code and gain access to the traveller’s personal information. That information can, in turn, be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

Here’s more, courtesy of USA Today:

Boarding Passes – Dos and Don’ts

Here is the received wisdom from security experts.

  • Do keep your boarding passes safe and on your person until you can dispose of them safely.
  • Do not leave boarding passes lying around while in transit.
  • Do not take a smartphone photo of your boarding passes and post them online. (Why anyone would do this is beyond me, but apparently, it happens all the time.)
  • Do not toss your boarding passes into publicly accessible waste receptacles.
  • Do dispose of your boarding passes in a way that minimizes the chances of them becoming compromised. Maybe tearing them in itty bitty pieces and mixing them with food scraps in your household garbage would do the trick, but.
  • Do shred your boarding passes for maximum security.  




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