Within the last two months, he has boarded 14 planes for a speaking tour.
All this led to his improved design for a boarding pass, which he first sketched on a cramped tray table in the last nine hours of his flight from Singapore to London.
“There are fundamental grievances with the current practice of flying,” Smart told Business Insider. The boarding passes used by airlines today are among the problems.
They have oddly large dimensions that don’t tuck easily into a pocket or passport. Information is hard to find and not listed from most to least important, Smart said. And some of the information listed is in code that airline workers understand, but passengers may not.
In contrast, Smart’s redesigned boarding pass has a vertical layout to offer information in a hierarchy that prioritizes where you have to be in the airport and by what time. It folds at the bottom to fit into your passport. It lists the temperature and time difference of your destination. And it uses the existing dimensions of a boarding pass so airlines wouldn’t have to spend money for new paper, printers or ticket readers if they choose to redesign the product.
Since he posted the project online, Smart has sparked an international conversation. Frequent travellers have suggested adding the class of your seat to the redesigned ticket, and a handful of airlines have reached out to him.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say this thing is going to become a reality,” Smart said, “but I’ve had three really exciting conversations with airlines about how they’re rethinking the entire flight experience. They’re thinking of how to innovate across the entire operation.”
“The real value isn’t in the physical object,” he said. “It’s in the dangerous and provocative thinking, giving other people permission to question the experiences they’re given. The thrill of jetting around the world at hundreds of miles an hour should be a wonderful experience.”
Here’s a standard, current boarding pass:
Depending on the airline you take, you won’t even find basic information like your boarding time in the same place:
And here’s Smart’s take:
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