Flying on Delta with the Watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by friedmud, May 31, 2015.

  1. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    TLDR: Apple Watch works perfectly as a boarding pass for Delta flights.

    I'm currently flying today with my Watch for the first time... thought others might want to know how it went.

    I am flying Delta (currently somewhere over Wisconsin). If you're not used to flying Delta the first thing you should know is that they have an excellent iPhone App... so everything starts with downloading that bad boy.

    Using the iPhone App you will want to get checked in the day before your flight (even if you are checking bags). This allows you to get your electronic boarding passes. Once you have those passes you can choose to load them into Passbook on your iPhone... do that.

    On your Watch you have 2 different things:

    1. The Delta App extension. This basically just shows you flight and gate information. Just informative.

    2. Passbook. Make sure that Passbook on your Watch is set to mirror Passbook on your phone and then your boarding passes that you stored in Passbook on your phone will automatically show up on your Watch.

    Here's where stuff gets cool. The morning of your flight you will get a notification on your Watch that gives you a shortcut to the boarding pass for your first flight. That notification can't be "dismissed". It will stay in the notification tray on your Watch, giving you one-swipe + one-touch access to your boarding pass at all times. Very cool and unbelievably simple.

    Upon arriving at the airport if you're not checking bags just head straight for the security checkin-in. If you are checking bags get in the "Baggage Checkin" line and check your bags... but go ahead and decline getting boarding passes... you won't need them!

    At the security gate simply hand the TSA attendant your drivers license... then lift up your wrist and go to the notification that has your boarding pass in it. Scroll down to the QR code so it fills the whole screen. Then just turn your wrist over onto the scanner. It worked perfectly for me.

    One cool thing I've noticed about Passbook passes on the Watch: when you get to the QR/barcode it kind of "locks" into place, filling the screen. It also seems to raise the brightness of the screen up to maximum... probably helping the scanners read the code.

    My TSA person waived me right through.

    Now we get to one of the PITA things about the Watch. You gotta take it off to go through the scanners. I haven't worn a watch in years so this was new to me. I generally take everything off / out of my pockets while in line and put it in my backpack/satchel and that's what I did with my Watch. Not that big of a deal, just remember to do it ;-)

    Once on the other side strap your Watch back on and fire up the Delta App on your Watch. It will tell you what gate to go to (and any other important information about your flight).

    When it comes time to board the plane simply raise your wrist and grab the notification with the Passbook pass in it again. Scroll to the QR code, then, when it's your turn, flip your wrist down on the scanner. Simple, worked perfectly for me.

    Honestly, even though I'm a frequent flyer and I love technology and my iPhone I've still been preferring to use paper boarding passes most of the time even though you have been able to use your iPhone as a boarding pass for a while. Getting out your phone and fumbling with the QR code never really seemed like that big of a boost over just handing the attendant a piece of paper. The only case where I always used my iPhone as my pass was if I wasn't checking any baggage... allowing me to simply go right to the security line.

    However... the Watch makes the whole process so simple that I'm definitely going to use it from now on. I really don't know how it could be any easier...
  2. ocdeal macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2009
    I'm the same way - still grab a paper ticket if I'm checking bags. Thanks for posting this! I'm looking forward to trying out the watch on my travels.

    I haven't had to take my Nike Fuelband off at the security checkpoint for a while, and seem to remember the TSA officers saying that watches are okay. Maybe I got this wrong. Has anybody else kept their watch on through the checkpoint?
  3. friedmud thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    No problem! Glad you found it useful!

    That IS interesting. I hope someone chimes in with their experience of trying to get through the checkpoint without taking their Watch off....
  4. mkruck macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    It may depend on the airport, but I've made 3 trips since getting my Watch on 4/24. Didn't have to take mine off in SAT, DEN or SNA.

    The TSA manager in Denver did say that each TSA location has quite a bit of leeway at each location.
  5. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Cool, flying out next week, already sync'ed up my Passbook on my iPhone to my Watch, added the two passes (one stop flight).

    Yeah, I don't anticipate needing to remove my Watch, but I'll report back :)

    Very cool, I noticed how the QR code snapped into place, but not the brightness shift until I read your post and went back and checked.
  6. Glene macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2014
    Ft Lauderdale
    My experience:

    I fly twice a week, at least. I don't have any problem with the TSA people, they pass me right through however I'm not using it at the gate anymore to show the pass. I don't like taking the watch off and if you keep it on your arm, there's too much hesitation while the scanner focuses on the QR, you have to get it just right, it's easier to hand them my phone that is running passbook or hand them the paper boarding pass. I've tried this on American, JetBlue, Delta, USAir, and it's all the same, it takes too long at the gate for the scanner to focus when it's on my arm.
  7. HeathH macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    Honolulu, HI
    I wonder how this will work with TSA Pre-check.
  8. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    I am going to fly united in August. Can I have a print out boarding pass and also the watch one too just in case the watch doesn't work?
  9. Glene macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2014
    Ft Lauderdale
    I was pre check a few days sgo, the watch will say pre check along with the QR.....
  10. lmitch6 macrumors member


    May 18, 2015
    For what it's worth, I've never had to take my watch off when going through the checkpoint, and have flown into and out small to large airports all over the country.
  11. HelloMikee macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2009
    San Diego
    Cool, thanks for sharing. I fly with a Delta this Thursday. Downloading the app now.
  12. djmodifyd macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2008
    I am a somewhat frequent flyer (delta silver medallion). Only flown a
    Few times with my watch. I've had good luck with the scanners picking up the qr code.
    Also, I've never taken my watch off going through security. If it is the body scanners watches are fine. Little known that you can hold stuff in your hands while going through these (ie drivers license, paper boarding pass etc) just nothing in pockets. A metal detector is a different story. You would have to take off the watch going through these.

    Glad you had good luck with using the watch. The delta app is great!
  13. Donstil-nl macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2008
    I am flying with a digital boarding pass (Mostly QR) for a couple of years now and goes great. I am only not seeing why I would like to switch from QR on iPhone to QR on watch. Most of the time there is a scanner or something and if there is a line the watch goes to black before I am at the scanner, so I have to wake it, start the app, making a line and looking like a dork :p

    I am using my watch for notifications and time but don't understand why some people would like to do anything on it even if it makes a less functionality user experience.
  14. Viper2005 macrumors 6502


    Dec 2, 2007
    I will get to try this out with Air Canada next week, as I have a flight with them!
  15. doctheseus macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2011
    I flew on Southwest from Houston to Midland , TX and used the apple watch with passbook, no problems, did not take my phone out at all, did not need to take my watch off at both airports...used the watch at both TSA and for boarding without any problems..was really nice...
  16. pilot3033 macrumors member

    May 19, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    The agent checking boarding passes before you get in line looks for the precheck logo, which appears on your passbook pass in the watch. When you scan, the machine gives off a distinctive "3 beeps" to indicate it's a valid Pre-Check boarding pass.
  17. flur macrumors 68020


    Nov 12, 2012
    IMO this is one of those cases where using the watch is easier than the phone. When I go through security I've got my shoulder bag and my roller bag and my DL or passport in my hand, and I don't need another thing (my phone) to juggle. I've already got to worry about taking my boots off (metal shank - I have to take them off even with pre-check). With the watch, my boarding pass is on my wrist, not in my hand.

    As far as timeout goes, once you have the QR up, the watch doesn't time out like the phone (either that or it has a REALLY long timeout), so it's actually easier to keep the pass up. If you're not finding that...not sure what's different between your watch and mine.
  18. friedmud thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    Great! Really good to know! I'll try it next week...
  19. friedmud thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008

    A few things:

    1. It is way easier to do without fumbling for your phone in your pocket (ie the same basic reason we all bought the Apple Watch in the first place)

    2. The screen does NOT go black as quickly when using Passbook. Apple already thought about this. I haven't timed it yet, but it has stayed active for a while while I stand in line numerous times. You can also just jiggle the crown to let it know to stay active. This really isn't any different than an iPhone... they go black after a bit as well.

    3. Passbook is instantaneous. You are not launching an "App" here... the notification is right there (just like on your phone)... and the pass comes up immediately.

    I actually agree with most of your points which is WHY I never liked to use my _iPhone_ as a boarding pass that much! However, the Watch's added convenience pushes it over the top where it's worth it.
  20. friedmud thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    I didn't have any hesitation yesterday. I just put my watch face flush to the scanner (literally touching it).

    We'll see how it goes in the future though.
  21. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005
    TSA - Pre-Check shows up on the boarding pass at least the one in passbook on the watch. AND TSA - PRE doesn't make u take the watch off. ;-)
  22. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    Taking the watch off definitely depends on the airport and even the TSA agents

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21 May 31, 2015