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iPhone saves your Virgin Atlantic boarding pass in Passbook

Virgin Atlantic is the first UK airline to be added to Apple's Passbook app, which your boarding pass on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Let's fly, let's fly away... and without having to print anything first. Virgin Atlantic is the first UK airline to be added to Apple's Passbook app, which stores tickets, vouchers and other bumf on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Virgin Atlantic offers a booking service and the option to save your boarding card on your Apple device. By checking in online and saving your boarding pass on your phone, you don't need any print-outs at the airport.

When you check in at the Virgin Atlantic website, you're given the option to send your boarding pass to Passbook. Choose that option and you receive an email with a Passbook attachment.

Open the attachment and the boarding card with all your details and a QR code -- a square barcode -- is loaded into the Passbook app, allowing you to bypass check-in at the airport and go straight to either dropping off your bags or, if you only have hand luggage, through security. At the departure gate, Virgin staff scan the QR code, and it's up, up and away.

At the moment, those QR codes can be read at Virgin Atlantic's three UK airports -- Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester -- and selected airports around the world.

Only a handful of companies have signed up to add vouchers or other services to Passbook that can be used here in Britain, and even those have a distinctly American bent. So far, you can scan your phone when you buy your mochalattecino to add a caffeine hit to your Starbucks loyalty card, or use three airlines that fly to the US: United Airlines, Lufthansa and American Airlines. Like Virgin Atlantic, those three companies offer boarding cards.

The other Passbook service available to us Brits is hotel booking through iHotel. 

Do you get much use from Passbook? Do you want your phone to take over from all those cards and papers in your purse or wallet? Book your thoughts in the comments or on our high-flying Facebook page.

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