A story that was making the rounds this week was about a man that was surprised by his friends at Stansted airport with a huge-sized boarding pass as he went to board a Ryanair flight. Apparently, it was like a A0 sized paper (about 33 inches by 47 inches) which is a pretty big piece of paper and not something that will be printed by your typical printer!
Big Boarding Pass – My Version
It reminded me of the big boarding pass I had to use one time, though not quite as large!
Several years ago, I did a mileage run (remember those?) to Tokyo on those sub-$400 tickets. It was a pretty great, quick trip that gave me about 10 hours to explore around Tokyo before I was heading back to the airport for the early morning flight.
No Boarding Pass = No Lounge
The problem? Back then, Delta didn’t let you use the app for the boarding pass and you had to actually print out your boarding pass to use it. But, since I wanted to get into the airport to use the lounge and the Delta counters were all closed, I had a bit of a problem! From the time I got to the airport until my flight left it was like 8-9 hours, about 5-6 hours before the Delta counters would open. Unless I could find a way to print boarding pass, I was going to be unable to clear security and get to a lounge for some food and rest.
That part of Tokyo’s Haneda airport was pretty quiet at that time of night and the only thing I found open was some kind of pharmacy. I asked the gentleman if he had some way for me to print out my boarding pass and he said that if I put it on a thumb drive, he could print it on their large copier in the store. Cool! I grabbed my laptop, printed to PDF, and then came back to the pharmacy.
11 x 17 Boarding Pass!
For some reason, the copier defaulted to print it in A3-type format – about 11 inches by 17 inches. Not only did it stretch it out to print like that but it also even cut off some of the ticket! We tried again with some settings he changed and, again, 11×17 boarding pass! I figured I would give it a try so I thanked him and headed to security.
You should have seen the security agent’s face when I unfolded my 11×17 boarding pass! I held it in front of me like one of those ceremonial checks along with my passport and he just looked at me for a minute, then at the paper, then back at me. Finally, he let me go on through.
When I reached the lounge, there was a similar reaction before the agent started laughing and asking if I would like a regular-sized boarding pass so I didn’t need the large one anymore. Thankfully, I did get a regular sized one – and then another one when I was boarding! See, I did get a nice bump up to business class for the return from Haneda to the US!
All in all, it made for a kind of funny experience for me, especially seeing how people reacted to it. I do not suggest doing this on purpose, especially when things are busy since it does not scan at all! 🙂