Passengers in Japan and Europe can check in at the airport by identifying themselves with their cellphone. Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airlines, and German carrier DBA passengers use their mobile phones instead of printed tickets.
An article published the New York Times today reviews the state of the art of using a phone as a passport at airports. The article is careful to point out that phones do not allow passengers to skip lines, but to screen passengers much more quickly than what is currently possible. Every phone has built-in authentication, which makes the mobile phone at least equivalent, security-wise, to most paper identification.
Unisys Airports is building devices which could be used in stadiums, theatres and hotels to rapidly check in guests with their mobile phone (Adobe Acrobat required). "Traditional check-in takes maybe one to two minutes, but often it takes ten minutes because of waiting in line," says Urs von Euw, Unisys vice president Airport Solutions. “Our solution speeds up the process much more. At the kiosk, it takes precisely two seconds to print off a barcode (sent to the phone as a picture message). That is as quick as it is physically possible to do it and the costs are negligible.”