Testing Jetstar's SMS check-in system

Testing Jetstar's SMS check-in system

Summary: Jetstar has upgraded all of its camera-equipped concourse check-in kiosks so that they can read boarding pass details straight off a phone. Sounds great, but are they any good?


Jetstar has upgraded all of its camera-equipped concourse check-in kiosks so that they can read boarding pass details straight off a phone. Sounds great, but are they any good?

A couple of months ago when these kiosks were installed, Jetstar's chief information officer Stephen Tame told ZDNet Australia that the kiosks were designed to read SMS boarding passes on almost all phones at virtually any brightness setting.

Sadly, using an Apple iPhone 3GS, we found that these high-tech check-in terminals failed to deliver on both of our recent flights.

Nerdcam tried no less than 10 times, using both the SMS pass code and the barcode recognition system, to get from the concourse to the plane, but, sadly, it didn't work. The good old paper boarding pass had to suffice.

Check out the video to see how it all went wrong.

Topics: CXO, Mobility, Travel Tech

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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  • I had the same problem with an iPhone 3GS – despite multiple attempts and the assistance of well-meaning staffers, neither the scanners at the Web check-in kiosks nor the scanners at the gate were able to read the phone at any brightness setting, in Sydney or Melbourne Jetstar terminals. This was learned the hard way and, no doubt, much to the annoyance of the dozens of other passengers queued behind me.

    The good news: in their rush to figure out how to get me on the plane, the attendants printed out someone else's boarding pass and I got to sit in row 2 instead of row 20. But I suspect passenger upgrades weren't within the design parameters of the system. It's a great idea but you definitely would have thought the system would have been tested on one of the most common smartphones out there. Version 2, perhaps.
  • I had a go with mobile checkin the other day. If you don't scan your code at least 30 minutes before your flight, the documents say that you can't print your boarding passes. It's not really any sort of time saver. You get the same time limit if you line up to deal with a person. Print off your own boarding pass at home and you can arrive and walk straight onto the plane.
    • My understanding is that you don't actually *need* to print out a boarding pass anymore – the phone message is actually your boarding pass, so (assuming you have no luggage to check in) you can skip the kiosks, go straight to the gate, scan your phone, and get on the plane. If, you know, you're using a phone that it can read. Which you won't find out until you're at the gate. Cue circular paradox.
  • I had more or less the same problem. It's difficult when you're travelling to print out boarding passes at a hotel, and then if your phone battery is failing, or internet reception on the way to the airport is variable(because it is in the middle of nowhere) you're pretty much jiggered, and even if you keep trying the only thing you achieve is running over the 30 minute time limit - then get hit with extra fees for not doing your web or phone check-in and it's bye bye budget fare.
    But then on the odd occasion you have a win and your plane happens to be 3 hours late...because the air-con has broken down and it's a hot day... sigh.
    I hope they're technology is better on-board than their check-in.
  • I tried the SMS check in today. Just to be safe I tried it on the concourse instead of waiting until I got to the gate. 2 of 3 terminal said 'Scanning function not available'. Number 3 then told me I had to go to the counter anyway even though the flight was listed for check in on the screen above. Scanning worked fine on Samsung Galaxy S on lowest brightness, once I turned off auto screen rotate, the scanner isn't smart enough to allow for rotated text.
  • i need it
    shatrughn bhoir