Boarding pass redesign

You know how when you get your boarding pass the teller highlights the boarding time and the gate? The fact that they have to do it is a testament to the abysmal design of boarding passes.

Through this assignment, I got interested in the design history of boarding passes. Turns out, the machine-readable component of boarding passes is regulated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But, as far as I can tell, there is no regulation on the human-readable elements. So, the only reason that we have these awful boarding passes is that some engineer who was only interested in the boarding pass barcodes made up a template for boarding passes which has been followed out of inertia since. Here’s an example from the ‘Recommended BCBP document layout‘:

Selection_001
An example template from IATA. Notice how the only point of concern is the dimension of the barcode.

Why then are we still suffering from awful boarding passes like this:

Selection_002.png

Here is an attempt to redesign this monstrosity:

new_boarding_pass.png

Font used: Bitstream sans

Side note: If you’re interested in what information is contained in the barcode on the boarding pass, it’s easily decoded with a simple app. It is PDF417 format data-matrix code and contains mostly the same information as typed on the pass. But it can contain a lot more information as well, including the sequence number and frequent flyer number. More details in the IATA implementation guide.

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