The One Thing You Shouldn't Do With Your Boarding Pass

Throwing it away? That's the least of your worries.

boarding pass

With the arduous slog of picking up a fair-priced ticket and the constant airport delays, air travel these days is stressful enough. But even if you take every precautionary measure to ensure a laid back trip, there's still one potential stressor lurking in your pocket: Your boarding pass.

First off, we're not talking about losing your boarding pass. If you stuff it in an unnavigable pocket of your carry-on or even accidentally throw it away (hey, it happens!), gate attendees can easily print off a new pass, no problem. All you have to do is present photo ID. No, your boarding pass becomes a risk to you when you let others see it. Or, more specifically, if you share photos of it on social media. After all, it's not uncommon these days to see friends posting pictures of their boarding passes with captions such as, "Cabo!! Here we come!!"

Bad idea.

According to Brian Krebs, the man behind esteemed security blog KrebsOnSecurity, there are websites that automatically read boarding pass barcodes, which provide a treasure trove of important information, including the name of the person who originally booked the ticket and the entire history of the flyer account tied to the ticket.

What's more, by accessing this data, a rogue actor can change your selected seats and even cancel any upcoming trips. Finally, if this hacker is feeling especially devious, they can allegedly cash in any frequent flyer points for rewards of their own. That's right: An innocuous Instagram post can directly lead to the instantaneous elimination of your accrued frequent flyer miles.

So if you're feeling the urge to post a photo of your boarding pass as evidence of your travel, rethink that. Instead, just post photos of, you know, the place you're traveling to instead. And for more ways to be a smarter flyer, here are the 30 Airport Secrets only Insiders Know. 

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Ari Notis
Ari is a senior editor, specializing in news and culture. Read more
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