Here is what I've done, and below we'll review about the original version, about its pluses and minuses, and review some of the improvements done.

Prehistory: I've seen the article in Wired about the boarding pass usability. A designer of Evernote Adam Glynn-Finnegan did some redesign of the boarding pass. Here's his version:

To me, it looks better, but not good enough. It still has some things out of place, like in the urban legend about the Chinese with no nose, doctors grown a new nose on his forehead. Let me introduce myself: Ivan Boyko, I'm the user interface designer at VisualPharm, and I see much room for improvement for this boarding pass. 

Before I continue, I should admit I'm impressed about Adam's work. I like his approach of improving the everyday things. Looking from this angle, I'm not criticizing his work; instead, I work in the same direction: improving the everyday things.


I don't think it's natural to follow it all horizontally unless it's colored like that. Look what a mess is it black and white:

You'd rather see these groupings:

Instead, we could do a better job of arranging information in columns:

Pay a close attention to two right blocks. They are absolutely equal. This way, passengers doesn't need to scan the whole ticket looking for information once they realize the right sides are equal. 

Labeling and other problems

Here are some of other problems:

And many more:
  • People don't remember the airport codes. You should write cities in the plain language.
  • The departure airport is unimportant. People are already in the airport. Terminal is important though, and San Francisco airport has additionally the devision by boarding areas.
  • At boarding, they tear off the large part in Europe, leaving you with smaller part. So they would take the explanations about the seat location (rear part of the plane, window).

Which aisle to take

Flight attendants look at the seat number and say: "This way please". Or "to the end at the right". They repeat it 300 times per flight, isn't it a boring responsibility? Not only boring, but time consuming. According to my calculations, it takes 158 years of total time in US only. That's what I got from 10 seconds per passenger, 500 millions of passengers in US annually:

Instead, I offer making a small scheme with an approximate location of the seat in the aircraft. This means "closest aisle, besides the wings, to the right":

So what we've got? Let me show you my work once again. Now I hope you have a critical eye toward it. Can you see anything wrong? Can you improve something more? If so, let me know!