Why its not a good idea to post your boarding pass on social media?

Many of us have a habit of posting our boarding pass photo online- particularly facebook, while we are about to begin a trip. Seems like a harmless move- what can one do with photo of a boarding pass? Well, in wrong hands or by someone with wrong intentions, a lot of things can go wrong. Read on to find out more.
Sensitive information in boarding pass:
Boarding pass has PNR (Passenger Name Record), eTicket number, your first/last name etc. These information, if not blurred before posting online, can be misused by strangers.

Why revealing PNR is dangerous? What can go wrong?
No one can make money from your PNR info- there's no financial risk. But having your PNR can help a stranger know more about you, your plans etc and if they so wish, they can make some changes to make your life miserable...

Almost all airlines allow anyone to retrieve ticket details just by entering PNR or eTicket number and passenger last name. No other info is required and no password/OTP/SMS/email alert is involved. This means when you post photo of your boarding pass and let everyone see all details, below are the things one can access/modify w.r.t your trip:

What all can one do with your PNR information?
With your PNR and last name, one can access your ticket on airline website and know/do the following:
- Know when are you returning (if return ticket is on same PNR)
-Know who else are traveling with you (if PNR has multiple passengers)
- Do some mischief like do a web check-out or change your seat or meals etc (if that person is traveling on same flight he/she can change your seat next to theirs or select their seat next to yours)
- Know your email ID (most airlines allow emailing of boarding pass and pre-populate your email ID and others can copy it) & frequent flyer program
- Cancel your return flight
Further if they know your date of birth also, then they can call airline call centre and might be able to do more mischief.

If someone is stalking you based on info they could access from your boarding pass pic, you won't even realize they are doing so, or may not be able to link it to you sharing your boarding pass photo.

Why airlines have kept it so unsecure then?
You may be wondering why airlines are not securing the way one access their tickets online. But here's the thing- The ticket details were supposed to be personal to you and you're not supposed to be sharing it with strangers. Thus airline website's booking management system assumes only you will know your PNR and others don't. They haven't anticipated the scenario that passengers will be posting their boarding pass on facebook and someone may abuse the system.Current system as is simple and safe, if you keep your PNR/eTicket info to yourself.

Further there's no financial risk and the cases of abuse are almost nil- no one has time, interest or motive to access your ticket details and do something bad. But then, the potential exists- there are many who may be stalking you on facebook or might be looking for more information about you or looking to cause you some trouble.

So what precautions to take?
  • Some information like D.O.B, boarding pass details are best kept private
  • If you still wish to share, blurr or mask the portions revealing PNR, eTicket Number and Frequent flyer number. Or click from a distance or use aperture mode so that no one can zoom in and read all finer details.
There're no known incidents of someone being harmed because they posted their boarding pass online- but then the potential exists. So it is better to be careful than sorry.
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  1. A great piece of info buddy. Sharing it on my page right away. Should be helpful to travellers who don't blink an eye before sharing their life on social media.


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