Boarding Passes – What To Tell Your Clients

boarding passes image

Boarding Passes Contain Sensitive Information


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.

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 traveler.

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 traveler’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 such time as 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.

Boarding Passes and Your Clients

It’s a good idea to share these tips with your clients.

It’s also a great marketing strategy because you establish yourself as caring about your clients’ personal privacy and safety.

You can quite easily prepare a letter or small brochure to share with all your new clients. Or send them these tips by email whenever they are starting a journey.

If you have a website, it is a simple matter to embed the YouTube video above on a page devoted to travel tips or travel security.

You might even offer a service to shred your clients’ passes when they return home. Not everyone has a home shredder, but most well-equipped travel agents do. However, this could prove to be cumbersome for you and your client. (I will confess that it is not a service I offer.)

The bottom line is that professional travel agents have an obligation to provide their clients with information that will make their travel easier and safer. Too few do. Doing so will set you apart and become an important element of your “brand identity.”

(Boarding pass graphic courtesy of WTSP News.)

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Boarding Passes – What To Tell Your Clients was last modified: February 29th, 2016 by Kelly Monaghan