Your Boarding Card and You

To get on a plane, you need a boarding card be it the traditional sort or a print-out when you checked in at home. These days your boarding card will contain personal details about you; personal details that you may not appreciate are there or are important so when you have finished with the card don’t just throw it away. Shred it, mash it up with water and pulp it but don’t just throw it in any bin be it at the airport (worst case) or even at home.

Why?

A few years ago, criminals started collecting thrown away boarding cards or their stubs because if you were members of a frequent flyer club, the membership and status was printed on the card. They, how I don’t know, managed to use these details to hack into the frequent flyer membership details. That sometimes contains credit card details, passport details and certainly has address and e-mail details. Some airlines made their members aware. Some US bloggers began to draw this to the attention of people as well. So I began to always shred my used boarding cards regardless of whether they contained details or not.

Some countries, Spain, Switzerland, and USA, for example, demand that passport or identity details be logged before they will let you fly. Fair enough, if that’s the law. What I do object to is what happened yesterday. I hadn’t flown easyJet for a good while until yesterday. I printed out the boarding pass in advance and found that easyJet also placed my passport number on the card with the letter “P” afterward clearly indicating it was a passport number. I suppose this is so that they can match the number to my passport details when they view them although, and I could be wrong, the cursory glance being made by the check-in people didn’t suggest they had compared the two by sight. Is it necessary to have it printed out when they bring up the details on the computer?

If it is, then I urge you to destroy confidentially the slips of paper that you print out the details on as well. I can only hope that they do the same as there seems no conformity in what check-out staff does. Sometimes they hand the whole printed page back and sometimes tear a piece off. I haven’t flown on Ryanair for a while or Flybe. Do they print the passport number on their boarding cards/print-offs?
Whether they do or nor, don’t just throw your boarding cards or passes just in the bin. Destroy them properly. No need to help any identity thieves about.

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