Jetstar Offering SMS-Based Check-In, No Graphics Required

Jetstar Offering SMS-Based Check-In, No Graphics Required

Qantas and Virgin Australia both offer mobile-based check-in, but that service requires a graphics-capable smartphone with an Internet connection. A new SMS-based option from Jetstar can automatically check passengers in 24 hours before a flight using an SMS confirmation, meaning that virtually anyone with a mobile phone can use it.At the airport, the SMS message is photographed and scanned by the check-in kiosk and a paper boarding pass issued. Despite increasing pushes towards automation, no airline has eliminated paper-based passes entirely, in part because in regional locations and when refuelling phones need to be switched off prior to boarding.

Jetstar began offering the service earlier this month, but it got widespread publicity this week after IBM issued a press release promoting its role in developing the technology. Unlike its poor-value offer of an SMS itinerary, there’s no charge for the service.

The option isn’t yet available at all Jetstar airports. Case in point: at Newcastle Airport, where I checked into a Jetstar flight this morning, the check-in kiosks were all switched off and everyone had to go to a desk. It also isn’t available for international flights.


  • Even if they were on they may not have worked. I tried to scan my sms checkin for Jetstar at Newcastle airport this weekend, it failed and directed me to the counter.

    • Massive fail jetstar. it did not work both times on my return trip from melb to newcastle.

      Plus the staff in Newcastle didnt know how to use it so I along with other passengers had to wait outside the line where we were ignored and had to ask a number of times if we can get scanned to board the flight. Massive inconvenience considering we were second from the front of the original line.

  • Tried it recently on a Sydney to Melbourne trip using my iPhone, and it didn’t work. Same for the person travelling with me. Scanner in the auto check-in booth didn’t read the message.

    When I received it the idea struck me as technologically questionable, due to the different ways people will hold the phone in the scanner, no reference points for the scanner, different SMS formatting and screen types for different phones, etc.

    Sure enough, didn’t seem to work in real life.

    • @Cactus & Ian

      There seem’s to be some misunderstanding as to how the sms based check in works.

      There’s no need to use it at the auto check-in booth as you both have, as the sms is the actual boarding pass and you have already been checked in.

      What you’re supposed to do, is take the sms to the boarding gate, where you hand your phone to a member of Jetstar who take it to a new scanner next to the counter, which takes a photo of your screen, and then spits out your boarding pass.

      I’ve used this on four separate occasions now, and each time it has worked fine.

  • I’ve used this on MEL-HBA return. The MEL check in was a little slow – took around 15 seconds for the boarding gate scanner to recognise the code – but it then prompted to check in all four pax on the flight.

    On the return, I had zoomed in on the message before putting the phone in the scanner, and it was almost instantaneous – even as I was still putting the phone under the camera / reader.

  • Thanks for all the useful feedback – at Jetstar we’re consistently aiming to innovate. The three self service options we’re offering (plus automatic check-in) will improve your overall experience at what are increasingly busy airports.

    People using self service options such SMS Boarding, web check-in or airport self service kiosks will pay less for travel than customers who choose to check-in at the counters from 1 November 2011. By incentivising people to use self-service options it enables Jetstar to speed up the check-in process so people can get to their flight on time. This is similar to other Jetstar initiatives such as lower prices for booking online compared to using the call centre.

    We are committed to providing more customer service, not less. Our customer service team will be available to help our customers even more at airport check-in. Our staff will be freed up to be on the ground at check-in and instead of undertaking processing tasks will be able to help customers navigate the self service kiosks and importantly, ensure passengers can avoid the counter check-in charge.

    We hope you enjoy using these new self-service options and look forward to your feedback.

    Andrew Mathwin, Manager Social Media, Jetstar

  • With the SMS checkin, be careful. My husband was checked in for his return flight (scheduled for 3 days later) when he tried to check in for his Sydney to Hobart flight. When he arrived at the gate 30mins before departure he was told that he was unable to board and that he would have to take a flight 9 hours later. They were still calling for other people to board the flight, he had no luggage but there was no way they were going to let him go back to the counter and check in because it was 30mins before the flight and they had ‘closed’ check-in. He was forced to pay $449 to travel with another airline so that he could make his meeting. There is no confirmation at the end of the SMS checkin. It just says “Congratulations! You have checked in!” The Customer Service desk were unhelpful, they refused to credit the flight for later use. They refuse to admit any error. Be wary of this service. It is more beneficial to Jetstar than the customer. Just because my husband is not the kind of person to jump up and down and make a scene does not mean that he should be taken advantage of. These systems should be improved before inflicting them on the general public. Get your act together Jetstar.

  • I tried to use the SMS checkin, first going through the website. The website indicated that everything had worked successfully. The night before the flight the SMS had not come through so I tried to register for SMS checkin again, but the website indicated to me that I had already done what I needed to do. 40min before my flight I had not received the SMS. I checked in using the kiosk at the airport to make sure I was checked in. The kiosk printed out a boarding pass for me which I used to board the plane, just as though I hadn’t done the SMS checkin. Later on in the day, several hours after arriving at my destination, I received an SMS saying that they were unable to check me in for the reference and flight and that I should proceed to a checkin desk at the airport. Then several days later a thank you for flying with Jetstar SMS came through. The system seems unreliable and if I bet if I didn’t check in at the kiosk, I would be in the same situation as Trish’s husband in the comment above.

    • We are flying Jetstar tomorrow, despite my partner swearing never to darken their doorway again (it was a Package Deal and our travel agent booked us with them). We have both experienced appalling Jetstar customer service and inefficiencies in the past, but I am always wiling to forgive and forget as people (companies/businesses) can change. However, it aint looking good so far with SMS check-in; we checked in over an hour ago online, put in the mobile number, and are still waiting for the SMS. Previous dealings with Jetstar shows this is not a good sign, as either things seem to happen straight away with this company or not at all… Guess we’ll be heading to the Kiosk tomorrow And Jetstar – I hope you are on your best behaviour as our future flying adventures with your company depend on the outcomes of this trip xx

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