Emirates phasing out paper boarding passes at Dubai

From 15 May, Emirates requires most passengers departing Dubai to use a mobile boarding pass instead of a printed paper version.

Passengers checking in at Emirates base at Terminal 3 will receive their mobile boarding pass via email or SMS. Passengers who check in online can load their boarding pass into their Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, or retrieve their boarding pass on the Emirates App.

Passengers receive their baggage receipt by email or on the app.

Emirates lists the benefits of the change as:

  • significant reduction in paper waste
  • convenient and speedy digitised check
  • reduces the risk of lost or misplaced boarding passes

Some passengers may still need a physical boarding pass

It looks like a substantial number of passengers will still get a printed boarding pass, including:

  • passengers travelling with infants
  • unaccompanied minors
  • passengers requiring special assistance
  • passengers with onwards flights on other airlines
  • all passengers travelling on flights to the US

On 15 May, Emirates if flying 7 non stops to the USA, meaning about 2500 passengers will need paper boarding passes on those flights alone.

And there are other reasons for needing to print a pass:

  • passengers do not have a mobile device
  • running out of battery power
  • cannot get online
  • problems with the Emirates app

These passengers will have to ask an Emirates agent to do the deed.

More about Emirates

Is it to get passengers to use the app?

Emirates says it is “Taking a step forward in its drive to offer customers the convenience and assurance of digitally enabled travel journeys”. Whatever that means.

But is it really more to do with ancillary revenue and biometrics?

Airlines like their apps. They get passengers on there and then take the opportunity to tempt them to buy upgrades, hotels and cars at their destination and all sorts of other ancillary stuff.

Or is it the next step towards total biometrics?

Emirates already uses biometrics at Dubai for several functions.

Registered passengers use the biometric machines or smart gates to go through various airport stations.

UAE Residents can use smart gates at Terminal 3 on their arrival in Dubai.

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Emirates (EK)