Even first-time filers know that an airline boarding pass contains certain information about a traveler. A passenger’s name, flight number, and seat assignment are all printed in plain sight. But did you know these tickets, whether a paper print out or an electronic version, contain more personal information than meets the eye?
Specifically, the barcode on a boarding pass can pull up data like a frequent flier number, contact information, or other identification details. The information contained is “going to vary barcode by barcode, airline by airline,” says privacy researcher Bill Fitzgerald. But one rule of thumb is to always assume the scannable code “has information about you and your stuff and where you’re going,” he says.
Travelers should also assume that the barcodes contain driver’s license and passport details, as fliers must provide these to the airline or at the airport, according to Fitzgerald. As such, the paper versions of the travel document should be disposed of with care. “If you have a barcode on something, you should not be throwing that into the trash unless you want somebody to get it,” says Fitzgerald. “And you should definitely never be posting it on social media.”
Here are other reasons why you should not post a photo of your boarding pass on social media:
- Airline Company – In your boarding pass, it shows which airline you chose to make your trip.
- Full Name – Your complete name is written there, which anyone can type on Facebook or any portal and see your profile to know what you look like.
- Flight Number – The exact flight that you are taking is shown on your ticket and in every panel of the airport.
- When and Where You Are Going – You can clearly see at what time is your flight taking off and what is your destination.
- Seat Number – The number of your seat is there, so everyone knows that Mr. X is seated in row 12A.
- Booking Reference -It provides your personal reference, yes, the one that they ask you along with your destination to enter your booking details on the airline web page.
- Ticket Number – On the internet, it asks you about either one to enter your profile, booking reference or ticket number. By having this and your full name is enough to buy things, upgrades, cancel or rebooking.
- Frequent Flier Program – Your frequent flier program number is on your boarding pass as well.
- Bags – How many checked bags did you leave at the counter? Yes, there is too!
- Bar Code – It can be easily screenshotted and used. That bar code has all the information that your ticket has, which makes it even more dangerous than having anything written on it.
As you can see, it can be easy to steal an identity, your credit card number if you have it in your frequent flier account, your home address and any other personal details that you might have.
First, be extra careful when posting and if you want to do it anyway, try to avoid disclosing sensitive information by making it blurry from your picture; although my advice is not to post any Boarding Pass at all.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you might change this habit and just avoid posting boarding passes at all. The same happens with bag tags so don’t post them either! Many people have suffered from this identity thefts and stolen information, so don’t give them a chance to take yours.