Boarding passes: Getting smarter

BOARDING passes are inconvenient. They’re too big to fit easily in a wallet or passport, and they’re a poorly organised mishmash of information of various degrees of importance. Peter Smart, a British graphic designer, has a solution. On his website, Mr Smart has posted his vision for the future of the boarding pass: foldable and better organised, with the most important information—flight number, route, boarding time, and so on—closer to the top. Here is what it would look like:

“The solution is by no means perfect and further iterations will see greater levels of refinement,” Mr Smart writes. “However, as designers our aim should be to question what is otherwise accepted—a relentless mission to better, simplify and improve the experiences of other people.”Mr Smart is no doubt right that his design offers an improvement over current versions. But the future isn’t paper. Smartphone adaptation is rapidly increasing, especially among business travellers and other frequent flyers. As airlines and security screeners work out the kinks in the system, it will become easier to avoid printing a boarding pass at all. Paper should still be available as a backup, but frequent travellers know that every extra step at the airport takes time. If travellers didn’t have to go to a kiosk to print their cards out, they wouldn’t.All that said, a more streamlined form will be useful during …

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