Printing your boarding card out REALLY BIG

Back in October 2007, Bill Bryson (not the author, a different Bill Bryson) printed out his boarding pass on a giant sheet of poster paper about 3' x 1.5'. He had quite an adventure.
After my extremely long flight down to Minneapolis I headed into the World Club (NWA's rendition of the Board Room). When you enter their facility with an Alaska Airlines board room pass you need to show them a NWA ticket to get in. So I handed them my board room card and unrolled my boarding pass on the counter. The two ladies looked at each other and started laughing. They called over the other people working in the world club over to take a look. They asked me if I had won a trip or something. I told them that I was just doing it to get a smile out of people. They laughed and told me to have a nice day. One of them said that they'd like to see the gate agent try to scan that thing in.
Have you ever printed a boarding pass? (via Uncertain Principles)


  1. His heart is in the right place and it’s awesome that the people who saw it had a sense of humor, but I still don’t think that’s the right place to make jokes. The TSA does not always appreciate it, and if they don’t appreciate what you’re doing they will make absolutely SURE you know about it.

    1. “don’t think that’s the right place to make jokes”
      The terrorists have definitely won.
      What better time to make jokes and have some fun than when you are jetting off on a holiday?
      (Unless you’re going to a Siberian prison for your holiday)

      Why is there no terrorist organisation demanding about the same or more extreme airport security? Government says : “We can’t give in to their demands, make it all less difficult, quick”

    2. Look at all you depressed cowards. Your comments are actually a form of acceptance of the TSA’s abuse of our civil liberties. You are even letting them steal legitimate humor from you. I feel bad for you.

  2. Then the TSA tasered him, strip-searched him, detained him at a secure facility for four days with no food or water, and told his wife and children he was dead, because printing out a big boarding pass to make people smile is EXACTLY what the terrorists would do.

  3. And that is precisely why he should do it. Tweaking the TSA in perfectly legally but mildly annoying ways is an ideal way to express one’s contempt for their ineffectual security theater antics.

    1. No Sarah – it a perfectly legal way to annoy some person who’s just trying to do their job as told. I think we all can agree that TSA is an ineffective organization but messing with the person who is probably making just above minimum wage is a petty way to do it. Publicizing the hypocrisy and paying attention to gaffes works better than bugging the person that probably hates going to work in the morning (or night).

  4. Hee hee. Flying on NWA always amused me. Always hoped to see Dre and Ice Cube flying the plane.

    1. I always thought they missed an opportunity by not calling their web based check-in ‘Eazy E Check-In”

  5. This is great — not just that they printed out the giant pass, but that the airline employees took the joke so well.

  6. I brought a mug on a domestic flight recently. (Not because I wanted to be green or anything, but because I had some harebrained idea of trading it for something at my destination.)

    The stewardess said, “In ten years of doing this, I’ve never seen anyone do that before.”

    To paraphrase Laurie Anderson, that’s not the kind of thing you want to hear at thirty thousand feet.

  7. I had a hard time figuring out why he would need a backstage pass from a rap concert to hang out in a lounge. Maybe I need to fly again soon.

  8. This reminds me of the time I accidentally printed my BC Ferries receipt onto a piece of waterproof paper (aside from being waterproof, it’s almost impossible to tear by hand).

    I thought the poor ticket agent was going to have a heart attack trying to tear it. So, I then gave it a try. After a few moments of this, I offered to try. Boy, that was tough paper.

    After a few more moments, my wife pulled out her mini multi-tool, cut the paper into it’s respective halves, and confessed she may not have removed all of the waterproof paper from the printer.

    Thankfully, we all the humor in it.

  9. Clearly the bar code is far too large for a typical scanner to parse it. Anyone out there with a barcode scanner want to test?

    But… what if he stood a ways back from the scanner? I assume there’s some sort of proximity sensor to trigger the beam, but let’s assume that could be set off with a finger without impeding the beam. The important question is whether or not the barcode scanner reads only perpendicular to its screen or if there is some sort of lens that gives the beam a field of view wider than the scanner..

    Or… Hold the boarding pass at a significant angle so the whole barcode fits into the beam? That would make the closer side of the barcode larger than the far side..

    Or… Hold the boarding pass up to a mirror..? A flexible mirror??

  10. How Americans protest the loss of their civil liberties:

    “I told them that I was just doing it to get a smile out of people. They laughed and told me to have a nice day.”

    CHANGE (TM) is (not) coming!

  11. I once went to a bar that was doing some sort of promotion where they had all these large “novelty sized” banknotes on the wall. They were about 80cm long on the long edge. I tore down a $100 bill and ordered a couple of beers at the bar. When they told me the total, I pulled out the $100 bill and said “Sorry, I don’t have anything smaller.”

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