AlnessW
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What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:44 pm

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?

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citationjet
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:12 pm

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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Fly2HMO
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:27 pm

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.
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:44 am

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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VIflyer
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:50 am

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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AlnessW
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:19 am

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!
 
jetstar
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:52 am

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
 
Fabo
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RE: What Happened To United Magnetic Stripe Readers?

Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:00 am

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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