The Photo You Should Always Snap Before Going to the Airport

In recent years, I’ve become a fan of using a mobile boarding pass, which is retrieved through a link sent via text or email. Most airlines offer the option of a mobile boarding pass as an alternative to printing yours or picking up a paper copy at the airport. It can be particularly useful if you’re not near a printer, or don’t want to waste time in a long check-in line at the airport. But this method has one big downfall.

[st_content_ad]About a year ago, I was rushing through a foreign airport, trying to make a tight connection that required me to clear customs and then get through a second security screening. I was using a mobile boarding pass the airline had sent me, but when I went to pull it up on my phone, it wouldn’t appear. I realized that the airport not only didn’t have Wi-Fi, but my phone had no signal. I couldn’t open the boarding pass link, and I was as good as ticketless, standing on the wrong side of security. In a panic, I ran outside to see if I could get a signal; it worked and I was able to pull up my boarding pass, then sprint back to security and make my flight.

The incident taught me a vital lesson: always take a screen shot of your boarding pass. You can also save it to your Apple Wallet app on iOS, or PassWallet on Android, for remote use. Since then, having a photo or offline version of my scannable mobile boarding pass has saved me stress, hassle, and sprints though the airport in search of a stronger data connection.

It’s an easy step to add to your airport routine, and one you’ll be glad you took if you ever find yourself standing outside security struggling to pull up your boarding pass on your phone. Don’t know how to take a screen shot on your phone? Here are the simple instructions on how to screenshot for iOS and Android, and how to use Apple Wallet and PassWallet.

More from SmarterTravel:

[st_deals_search search_type=air]

By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *