Apple’s Passbook Is A Must Have For Travelers Even If Not Everyone Sees It That Way

Maybe I’m naive, but I can’t see why some people don’t see the value in a free app that helps organize your life a bit.  The New York Times published an article not long ago taking a couple of pot shots at Passbook while still saying it might be, kinda sorta, if you’re really not expecting much could be a useful tool.

Quoting from the article:

Passbook, it turns out, is not so easy to use. In its original iOS 6 incarnation, the app displayed an opening screen that pointed the way to compatible App Store programs — but then that screen went away after you downloaded an app. (In Apple’s defense, its help documentation for iOS 6 also pointed the way to, but really, who even knew that an online manual existed?)

I’m biased, because I love Passbook.  But, really?  It’s that hard to open up the Passbook and click on the Welcome page to get a list of apps?

And, we have seen some expansion, even if the author doesn’t believe it:

Only about 20 companies have joined Apple’s efforts, which tells you that the problem with managing Passbook isn’t you, it may be Apple’s not communicating well. Fandango, Starbucks, Walgreens, Sephora, Office Depot, Target, Major League Baseball and Ticketmaster can be placed in Passbook. In the travel department, Amtrak, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa have apps that deposit electronic tickets in Passbook.

You see, you aren’t doing anything wrong if you are wondering why your favorite airline or store isn’t in there. That’s pretty much the list after all this time.

Speaking as a domestic US traveler, having United (largest), Delta (second largest) and American (third largest of the legacy carriers) covers a pretty big chunk of potential travel.

And, the hotel chains have been busy getting themselves into Passbook.

Sure, it would be great if every loyalty card and travel partner I use had a place in Passbook.  All good things in time.  I’m pretty pleased with what’s there so far, and if you’re an iPhone user who’s not taking advantage of Passbook, what are you waiting for?



  1. I’m waiting for a compelling reason to use Passbook. The standard United app already works fine, so I see no reason to it on Passbook (why use two apps when one will do?) I also don’t see much value to any of the hotel apps. Other apps like Starbucks will show up on Passbook, but again, I don’t have any issues using the regular Starbucks app. I actually turned off Passbook notifications because it just got annoying.

    1. Scott, for airplane tickets, the value is that you don’t have to access the United app once you have your BP in Passbook. The BP pops up as a notification on the home screen when your phone is locked similar to a missed call. Swipe it and BP pops up on screen. Also works whether you have access to Internet or not, which can sometimes be an issue for me with the United app.

      United and American push gate and schedule changes to the Passbook BP as well. Not huge pluses, but definitely less buttons to push.

      Same thing with Starbucks, just less buttons to push. I keep Passbook on my home screen and it saves me a decent amount of clicks. It really does act like a wallet for me. One place to go for many things.

  2. Actually there are a ton more things happening in Passbook, most of the more experimental stuff is from websites (not apps). For some very odd reason, Apple is choosing to ignore any Passbook site that isn’t an app.

    For example there are a lot of coupon sites. One called Passjoy has coupons that automatically refresh themselves. My Kohls coupon has refreshed with 3 different coupons now.

    There are business cards, app search cards, etc. Just no way to find any of it.

  3. And even though they don’t have a standalone app yet, US Airways started offering passbook passes for their mobile tickets recently, which is a MAJOR improvement over having to get into your email to open up your tickets.

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