The immigration authorities of most countries require airlines to check the passports of their passengers before they are allowed to fly, so if you are making your first international flight with an airline, you have to queue up at check-in instead of downloading your own boarding pass at home. United Airlines is aiming to end this by adding the ability to scan and verify your passport using its mobile app, then head straight to Departures at the airport.
Once you’ve scanned your passport with your iPhone’s camera, the app sends the details to credentials management company Jumio Inc, who verify that your passport is valid which then allows you to download your boarding pass.
If your passport is already registered with United from a previous international flight, you don’t need to scan it again, it is verified automatically.
The bad news is that the system can’t yet verify visas, so if you need a visa for the country you’re visiting, you’ll still need to check-in the old-fashioned way.
You can download the free United Airlines app from iTunes.