American Airlines boarding passes go mobile

American Airlines tries out a new way for passengers to board its airplanes by using cell phones instead of the traditional paper boarding passes.

The idea is instead of the traditional paper boarding passes, passengers will use their mobile phones or PDAs to board an airplane.

American Airlines tried out this new method for the first time on Thursday with passengers leaving on domestic flights from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Mobile boarding pass.

Starting Monday, mobile boarding passes will also be offered as an option for passengers departing on domestic flights from Los Angeles International and John Wayne Orange County airports.

This is how it works: when buying the ticket online, passengers must provide an active e-mail address to which their boarding pass will be sent, in the form of a 2D bar code.

Upon arriving at the airport, the passenger can open the e-mail on their Internet-enabled mobile device to have the bar code scanned at the Transportation Security Administration's checkpoints and at the airline's gates.

Passengers can also use the same method for check-in luggage at American Airlines' self-service machines, ticket counters, or curbside check-in facilities.

During the introduction of this new feature, there are a few minor restrictions. Passengers can list only one person in their reservation and must be traveling on American or American Eagle nonstop or a trip that doesn't involve changing planes, to a domestic destination.

The destination, however, can be anywhere within the 50 United States, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

This is just the beginning, if the tryout proves successful with the TSA, American Airlines will extend this new mobile boarding method to other U.S. airports.

Personally, I hope this will happen with all the airlines. It makes a lot of sense, especially when most cell phones are able to connect to the Internet these days.