Why You Should NEVER Leave Your Boarding Pass Behind

Have you ever taken a flight and after you reach your destination, you can’t help but notice boarding passes tossed in random places? Have you ever seen any on the floor at your airport? I know at the time when your flight has ended and you have no need to have your boarding pass, you tend to just toss them anywhere. Today, I’ll tell you why that is a TERRIBLE idea.

Why You Should NEVER Leave Your Boarding Pass Behind

More Than Just A Piece of Paper

During all of my voyages, I’ve been noticing one troubling thing: Passengers leaving their boarding passes behind on the plane. Travelers truly don’t know how much information can be accessed from just scanning the QR Code on the boarding pass. All of your personal information is encoded on the boarding pass and it leaves you exposed as well as your personal information. Some airlines keep more information readily available on boarding passes than others. Let’s talk about what information you can access just based solely on your boarding pass.

Why You Should NEVER Leave Your Boarding Pass Behind

How Your Information Can Be Exposed

The tools of the trade include a barcode scanner, you know, the ones used at the grocery store. These barcode scanners can be found in the iOS or Android app store. So accessible. Any basic standard scanner will do the trick. The fraudsters could easily get the app and scan the barcode on the boarding pass. After scanning the pass, one very essential piece of information can be displayed, your full airline account number. Other associated information can include your email address, phone number, and more.

With access to the full frequent flier account number, a scammer can then get “secret question” information like mothers’ maiden names or high school mascots from social media to log into the account. From there, the criminal can wreak havoc by changing or canceling future reservations, stealing frequent flier points and more.

“People should treat their boarding passes the same way they treat their passports. You’d never leave your passport behind.”


I Tried To Be A Fraudster

By scanning an American Airlines boarding pass, I was able to see that reference code associated with the ticket. I then went to aa.com and input it, along with the first and last name on the boarding pass into the “Your Trips / Check-In” section of the site. Not only was I shown all my flight details, including connecting flights and times, but also the names of everyone else booked under the same reservation and the full AAdvantage account numbers. I stopped in my tracks. It was unbelievable how much information could be found from a boarding pass that some classify as useless after reaching their destination.


At this point, I decided that I had to write a blog post about this because I see entirely too many boarding passes left behind and this could cost you more than you think. Just by leaving one boarding pass behind, fraudsters can cause havoc in your life. It is super important to make sure your information is secure and that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Either dispose of your boarding pass properly by ripping it up and discarding in a trash bin, or virtually keep your boarding pass on your phone.

I’ve given you fair warning. You Should NEVER Leave Your Boarding Pass Behind.

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