There is a lot of personal information on your boarding pass, and your identity could be stolen.
Keep Your Boarding Pass To Yourself
The main reason is the confidentiality of your personal information. Your boarding pass reveals a lot of things that could cause you a lot of trouble if they were in the hands of a somewhat determined person with bad intentions.
Your boarding pass contains your confirmation number (or booking number) that each airline issues when you buy your tickets. That, combined with your full name (also shown on the boarding pass of course), is sometimes enough to find a way to gain access to your online account on the airline’s website.
Depending on the airline, it’s possible that all they could do with that information is change your seat for your return flight. That wouldn’t be so bad.
But in the worst case, with all the information from a boarding pass and a quick search on social media and the Internet, it’s definitely not impossible to reset a password to access many features on airline websites and have your return flight (or even future flights) canceled.
Even worse, your membership number will also be on the boarding pass which could compromise all your hard-earned points and miles, if you’re a member of their loyalty program.
But if you didn’t know this, you’re not alone. There are more than 100,000 pictures on Instagram that have been shared with the #boardingpass hashtag.
Example: A Boarding Pass Barcode
According to KrebsOnSecurity, a specialized website that first warned travelers not to share this information on social media, this code contains a lot of information.
Here’s an example shown on their site of all the data obtained using a simple barcode scanner freely available on the internet.
The expert they contracted took the Star Alliance number and the name of the passenger, then logged in Lufthansa’s (the German airline) website. In addition to gaining access to the passenger’s complete flight history, he was also able to access all the future flights and cancel them.
Other airlines use the passenger’s member number as their login to access their online account and this number is printed on the boarding pass.
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This article originally appeared on Flytrippers.