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What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?  
User currently offlinealnessw From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3586 times:

For as long as I can remember, United Airlines has always had those long, narrow metal magnetic stripe readers at the gate where you would insert your boarding pass into one end, the machine cuts the stub off and spits it out the other end. When I flew UA in July and again last week, I noticed that all of these machines have been replaced with glass scanners. The gate agent now just lays the boarding pass on the glass top, which scans the barcode, and the boarding pass is then handed back intact. How long have they not been using the magnetic stripe readers? I also remember for a while that UA still had them, but didn't use them.

I assume this is another feature of all the electronic/paperless-ness that all airlines are going the way of. Am I correct?

-Wilson

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3559 times:

When you print your boarding passes off on your home PC printer, you don't have the magnetic strips. The bar code is read by the scanners; just like the grocery store scanners.


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User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3553 times:

Quoting alnessw (Thread starter):
How long have they not been using the magnetic stripe readers?

Dude, how long have you not been flying? Those laser scanners have been around for years already. Cant remember when was the last time I had a ticket swiped.


User currently online1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3432 times:

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 1):
When you print your boarding passes off on your home PC printer, you don't have the magnetic strips. The bar code is read by the scanners; just like the grocery store scanners.

Actually, the last time I flew with DL, the boarding passes that the agent gave at the airport me did not have magstripes on them. And this wasn't through one of the check-in kiosks either.



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User currently offlineVIflyer From US Virgin Islands, joined May 1999, 500 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3409 times:

The industry has been in the process of switching over from magnetic strip boarding passes to the 2d bar code. The reasoning behind it as I've read and been told had to do with streamlining online check in tickets, kiosk tickets and ones printed by an agent. I simplifies the stock need at the airport. Also it offers the use of a smart phone with the boarding pass on it via a picture of said bar code on screen. The optical bar code contains more info than on the same lenght of strip than the magnetic. Thats why most new US drivers liscenses have also switched.

Vi



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User currently offlinealnessw From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3397 times:

Quoting VIflyer (Reply 5):
The reasoning behind it as I've read and been told had to do with streamlining online check in tickets, kiosk tickets and ones printed by an agent. I simplifies the stock need at the airport.

That all makes sense. I bet it's also cheaper to print on boarding pass stock that doesn't have the mag stripe.

Quoting VIflyer (Reply 5):
Also it offers the use of a smart phone with the boarding pass on it via a picture of said bar code on screen.

I've also heard those don't work very well.

Quoting VIflyer (Reply 5):
The optical bar code contains more info than on the same lenght of strip than the magnetic. Thats why most new US drivers liscenses have also switched.

Very interesting. Thank you!


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3201 times:
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The printers the airlines use today are thermal printers, so no toner is required, I can imagine the cost savings alone from not using toner and also from using cheaper paper stock without the magnetic stripe is quite substantial.

Also a lot of passengers today are using online check in and printing their boarding passes on their PC’s or using their smart phones, so the airlines would also need to have bar code readers as well, so I can see their reasons to drop the magnetic card readers and just use the scanners.

JetStar


User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2865 times:

Quoting alnessw (Reply 5):
I've also heard those don't work very well.

Sometimes they do, sometimes they dont. Not a thing on our little field, but I guess it could be bothersome on bigger ports.

And yes, it is online check-in that sent them to oblivion. And savings in printed airport BPs (new stock AND not having to re-print web check BPs or put them in by sequence number pax after pax)

Quoting VIflyer (Reply 4):
I simplifies the stock need at the airport.

Oh, well... Imagine you have large (weeks worth) amounts of stock with mag stripes. Imagine it has dark-blue stripe around where barcode goes... Well, that means about a thousand freshly made BPs consisting of old mag-stripe BP and plain white sticker (tailored from blank baggage label) a week. Fun job, eh? But I get near to the airplanes as well  



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