Crave is reporting that Delta and Continental are testing programs that allow passengers to check in using their mobile web devices, then display those devices (no need for a printed boarding pass) to get past airport security. Of course, this cool time-saving innovation had to get approval from TSA first (which may explain why it’s still only in the test phase). Similarly, JetBlue had to seek approval for its very limited experimental new in-flight internet service. Worse, cell phones have been banned from aircraft since 1991 – and politicians are trying to keep it that way, even though the EU allows cell use and hasn’t seen any planes falling out of the sky as a result.
TSA, the FAA, and the FCC may eventually allow some new experiments to go through, slowly. (Though cell phones and internet on planes seemed possible in 2004, but have yet to materialize.) But imagine how much better flying could be without these agencies controling our travel. We could eliminate hours in drawn-out security clearance and check-in – and turn hours of dead time in the air into productive (or at least less drudgerous) time. Once again, government is standing in our way.