turnstileAccording to the USA Today, Continental Airlines, which was the first to offer passengers paperless boarding in 2008, is now testing “self-boarding” in which travelers use CTA-type turnstiles to check their boarding passes and enter the plane.

Continental is the first U.S. airline to try self-serve boarding, joining 14 international airlines including Lufthansa, Air France, Korean Air, Japan Airlines and Air New Zealand.

Continental says it’s testing self-boarding at one gate in its hub in Houston Intercontinental airport.  The airline’s primary goal is to free agents from the mundane task of scanning boarding passes and allow them to handle other customer issues that require individual attention, such as upgrading seats.

In order for self-boarding to proliferate, airlines will first need to adopt boarding passes with  ”two-dimensional” barcodes, which contain more traveler information than magnetic strips or traditional barcodes.  Airlines have agreed to phase out magnetic strips by the end of the year.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Check out these futuristic designs for airplane interiors using a “Step-Seat model” that emphasized cost efficiency and passenger comfort, two seemingly polar opposites.  These designs are technically certifiable by the FAA, and can be implemented in airplanes already in use.
  • Jet Blue is conducting a fall airfare sale through tomorrow, July 30th.  The sale, which allows travel from September 7th to December 15th, applies to cities such as Austin, Chicago, and New York, L.A. and many places in between.  According to The Huffington Post,  you can fly from NYC to Barbados for $99, or from San Francisco to Boston for $149.  Also, if you buy a ticket during the sale your first bag travels for free.
  • Southwest Airlines, the same airline that felt actor Kevin Smith was “too fat” to fly on a SWA flight one year ago, has now reportedly bumped a woman from a flight to make room for a plus-sized teen who required two seats.  According to reports, a woman who was flying standby from Las Vegas to Sacramento, was in her seat ready for take off when a teen passenger arrived late to the gate.  Flight attendants said she would have to deplane to make room for the teen.  The woman expressed irritation about the situation and said that SWA employees began to “berate” her for complaining.