By Andrea Romano
January 22, 2020
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Mobile ticketing is just one of the many technological wonders that travelers can enjoy today. But does having your boarding pass on your phone really make your trip easier?

According to Sophie-Claire Hoeller at Insider, printing your boarding pass may have more benefits than mobile ticketing. In Hoeller’s op-ed, she posits that having a paper ticket and chatting with gate and check-in agents when necessary is the best way to ensure a good flight.

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“Talking to a real-life human has helped me avoid seat assignment fees when my husband and I wanted to sit together, get onto a different flight when necessary, and even score the occasional (rare) upgrade,” Hoeller wrote on Insider. “And while I will send my boarding pass to my phone, I'll also print it. If you're shaking your head at the old-fashioned extra step (I mean, who even still has a printer?), or the unnecessary waste of paper, hear me out.”

Hoeller says printing out a ticket is a good way to avoid any technical issues that may come with mobile ticketing: batteries dying, Wi-Fi failing, running out of data, and accidentally cracking your screen.

She also writes that other technical glitches at the airport, like scanners going down, mass cancellations, or flight delays, can hinder your mobile ticketing process. However, it's worth noting that a mass cancellation or delay is actually easier to adapt to when using a mobile ticket on an airline’s app, as it will send you notifications about your flight in real-time. Meanwhile, a paper ticket won't tell you when your flight is canceled.

Plus, a poorly printed boarding pass can render your ticket useless at the gate.

Hoeller points out that printing a paper ticket and neatly folding it into your passport is much easier than juggling between your personal items and phone. She also adds that some airports don’t allow mobile ticketing. On the American Airlines website, you can check if your airport (and connecting airports) use mobile ticketing ahead of time.

Hoeller notes that even though she sticks to paper tickets, she still utilizes some technology, like checking in online.

Whether you choose to use an app or a printed ticket, you can still run into issues at the airport, such as delays, cancellations, or flat-out missing your flight. But for Hoeller, that paper ticket simplifies her experience.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated the op-ed was written by Alison Millington. The piece was written by Sophie-Claire Hoeller at Insider.