Southwest passengers can use smartphones to board in Las Vegas

Southwest Airlines passengers leaving Las Vegas can now flash images from their smartphones instead of presenting a printed boarding pass to get on their flights.

The Dallas-based airline, the busiest commercial air carrier at McCarran International Airport, on Wednesday announced that mobile boarding passes are available through its Southwest app. Images also can be emailed or texted to a phone.

Matrix bar-coded images on mobile boarding passes can be scanned at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and at the gate prior to boarding. Passengers will be required to hold their phones to a scanner and Southwest officials say users may have to brighten their screens for the image to be scanned.

Southwest has been working on the technology for several months and has tested it in pilot programs in Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas, since November.

The mobile boarding pass option is available at 28 Southwest cities and will be introduced in the rest of its system later this year.

There are three ways to get mobile boarding pass image to a phone. When customers check in, they can have a mobile image texted or emailed to themselves. A third option is to check in with and save an image to a browser with Southwest’s free app.

Southwest recommends images be saved to a photo gallery.

Not every passenger will be able to get a mobile pass. Infants, unaccompanied minors, individuals traveling on senior fares that need to be age verified, non-revenue passengers, those traveling on multipassenger itineraries and military fares are not eligible for them.

Mobile boarding pass usage is available at several airports where Las Vegas passengers commonly travel, including Los Angeles International Airport, Denver, San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix. The technology is not yet available at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.