Delta testing cell phone-based airline check-in

If you're flying from New York's LaGuardia Airport to elsewhere in the U.S., you'll be able to check in with a mobile Web boarding pass on your cell phone.

If you're flying Delta Air Lines out of New York's LaGuardia Airport, you can now flash your cell phone to get onboard. On Tuesday, the airline rolled out a partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to test out a "paperless check-in"--passengers download a boarding pass onto their cell phones and have it scanned by the TSA at the airport's security checkpoint as well as when they board the plane.

Fellow domestic carrier Continental is already testing a similar program .

The speedier check-in is limited to cell phone customers who can access the mobile Web on their phones, a release explained. And, at least for the time being, Delta's test only applies to domestic travelers flying out of LaGuardia.

"Passengers can now quickly check in for their flight while en route to the airport in a taxi or walking from the parking lot to the terminal," Steve Gorman, executive vice president of operations at Delta, said in the release. "The check-in process now can take place from anywhere, any time within 24 hours of flight departure."

They'll have to present ID, of course. Earlier this month, the TSA ruled that if you refuse to show ID, you can't get on the plane .

Small, "techie" enhancements have been appearing on the airline-news radar recently, as U.S. carriers look for inexpensive ways to make up for cutbacks elsewhere in response to high fuel prices--charging for checked baggage, eliminating perks. United Airlines is rolling out iPod hookups through a partnership with Apple that Delta and Continental will be joining, JetBlue's BetaBlue plane has expanded its in-flight e-mail , and Virgin America used gadget fetishes to pull itself into a "premium" niche.

And if some airlines have their way--heaven forbid--you might be able to keep using that cell phone right up into the air .

 

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