Paper Is Out, Cellphones Are In – New York Times the next step is electronic boarding passes, which essentially turn the hand-held devices and mobile phones of travelers into their boarding passes. At least half a dozen airlines in the United States currently allow customers to check in using their mobile devices, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest and Alaska. But so far, Continental is the only carrier in the United States to begin testing the electronic passes, allowing those travelers to pass through security and board the plane without handling a piece of paper. Their boarding pass is an image of an encrypted bar code displayed on the phone’s screen, which can be scanned by gate agents and security personnel. Powered by ScribeFire.