What if Boarding Passes Added Value to Your Travel?

Maybe it was Clay’s recent musing recapping his year of jet-setting, or maybe I was just bored and couldn’t sleep. Whatever the reason, late last week, in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself on the Yahoo! Travel page (this is not unusual.) While browsing I ran across this article: A Better Boarding Pass? One Frustrated Flier’s Idea. My ears perked up.

Boarding passes are design challenged. There’s no visual hierarchy, the format is awkward, and they’re inconsistent across the board. I think we can all agree on this. Fellow designer and innovator, Peter Smart, took it to the next level and published a case study on his website: It’s Time to Rethink the Airline Boarding Pass.

Here are three things Peter did right:

  1. Looked at the current environment, and asked what if …

  2. Designed with all users in mind: passengers, airline staff, and machines

  3. Created a system and enhanced the customer’s experience

What he ended up with is a beautiful and functional redesign. He asked simple questions to solve a common problem, and turned the boarding pass on its head (literally).

While reading his case study, I was reminded of Deborah Adler’s redesign of the Target prescription bottle. Any professional designer can create beautiful design, but that isn't enough. A talented designer will not only create visually stunning work, they'll ask questions and design will support the solution.

Do you think it’s about time the airline industry takes a closer look at the boarding pass? I think Peter Smart has given them a great prototype and framework to jumpstart it.

Share your thoughts: @danieldzn