Have you ever printed a boarding pass?

Well this little feat has been a long time coming.  For those of you who have worked with me in Unalakleet you probably have heard about my aspiration of using the poster printer to print my boarding pass.  Well two days ago my dream became a reality.  I logged onto nwa.com and checked in for my flight.  Selected my seats and chose the option to print my boarding pass.  Well as you know Mac computers make it super easy to print things as a PDF file instead of to a printer.  So thats what I did.  I was on two different flights and both boarding pass tickets were on the same page stacked on top of each other.  This wouldn’t do I need each boarding pass to be on a different print out to really dramatize the “Big Boarding Pass”.  So I took a screen shot of each individual one and then took them over to the poster printer.  Each one printed out to be about three feet wide and about 1.5 feet tall.  I put them in a picture tube and flew to Anchorage.  My flight was on Hageland which doesn’t require a boarding pass, so none needed for the first leg of my trip.

After my arrival at Anchorage I got my bags checked and headed to the TSA security screening area.  Rebecca tagged along to take some pictures from a distance as I made my way through security.  I flashed my MVP card to the first TSA lady who let me into the MVP line without the need for my boarding pass.  Then it came to the person that checks your ID with your boarding pass just before the screening area.  Here is how it played out.

The TSA agent asked for my I.D. and boarding pass.  I handed him my I.D. and then unrolled the boarding pass.

First Look

After a look of surprise he said “Is that your boarding pass?”  I told him “Yeah… I didn’t have any other printer at work, and was running late for my flight”.  He told me to stand back and called on his radio for his supervisor.  He took my boarding pass and headed back toward the main TSA desk which was on the other side of the metal detector.

Showing the Boss

The supervisor came over and they exchanged a few words.


He came back to me and said “Okay… You are going to need to carry this through the metal detector with you.”  and he let me on through with a smile.


I made it through the metal detector, and didn’t even get an extra pat down or anything.  So that was nice.  My backpack needed another scan.  It usually does with the pleathra of hard drives and extra batteries that I always have with me.  So while that was happening a TSA agent came over and asked if he could look at the giant boarding pass.  I handed it to him.  He took it back to their little area and laid it out on a table.  He called over all of his TSA buddies and they all hovered over it checking it out.  I heard comments like..

“Thats an official boarding pass?”

“yeah..  Look it has everything, just really big”

“Man.. how’d he get it so big?”

“He must be an architect or something.”

I finally got my backpack and headed over their way.  They all had smiles on their face and said that I was very original.  I told them I was hoping to lighten their day a bit, and thanked them for having fun with it.  Here is a picture with one of the TSA guys.


I then headed down to my gate.  When I got to the check-in place. The agent asked for my boarding pass.  I unrolled it and he started laughing.  Mentioned somthing about not being able to scan that and just typed in my seat number and told me to have a nice flight.

After my extremely long flight down to Minneapolis I headed into the World Club (NWA’s rendition of the Board Room).  When you enter their facility with an Alaska Airlines board room pass you need to show them a NWA ticket to get in.  So I handed them my board room card and unrolled my boarding pass on the counter.  The two ladies looked at each other and started laughing.  They called over the other people working in the world club over to take a look.  They asked me if I had won a trip or something.  I told them that I was just doing it to get a smile out of people.  They laughed and told me to have a nice day.  One of them said that they’d like to see the gate agent try to scan that thing in.

After my 4 hours of sitting in there waiting for my final flight, I headed over to my gate.  When I went to check in there I unrolled my other ginormous boarding pass, and the lady just started laughing and said “is this for real?”.  I told her that it was and so she punched in my seat number into the computer just like the last one had and said “can I have that?”.  I said “sure, can I get a picture with you?”.


So it turned out to be a good trip.  Everyone involved really seemed to enjoy the whole thing.  I wish I could have gotten a little video of the encounters, but that would have been pretty difficult to pull off all by myself.

I hope you enjoy the story.  It made my long journey just that much better.


Erin  on October 13th, 2007

I suppose there are a number of benefits of traveling without your wife… this little prank is certainly one of it. Glad it turned out the way you wanted and not the way I’d anticipated… think little dark room off the back of security, etc. 🙂 When it comes down to it, I guess I don’t care which boarding passes you used – just glad you got back safe and sound!

Mom  on October 14th, 2007

You crack me up!! I have to tell you I first heard about this little prank right before church started during our choir practice. Steve Richardson had to share it with the whole group.

Glad you were able to bring a smile to so many people’s faces!

Take care. Mom

Tiff  on October 14th, 2007

funny…funny…funny…keegan and rohnan thought it would be way cool to travel with you and your giganormous boarding pass.

Brad Fuerst  on October 19th, 2007


Keep up the good work!

Stacie  on October 26th, 2007

I wish I had the nerve to do something like print a HUGE boarding pass… you bring smiles to our faces when we talk about it… Abbie just laughs.


Lo  on October 26th, 2007

Only you, Bill. Only you. I wish I had your creativity. But what a hilarious way to spice up your trip home. Have a good day!!!!

Greg Johnson  on October 31st, 2007

Bill, that worked out absolutely awesome – what a great story. I would think those were some of the biggest smiles those airline and airport employees have cracked in quite a while.

Debbie (Stacies Mom)  on November 7th, 2007

I heard about this last night from Stacie and Stephanie…so I had to see for myself … I am not sure that I have ever laughed so hard… I agree with Stacie … I wish I had the nerve to do this…what you did was way too funny…you make me laugh!!

Laura Bjerk  on November 8th, 2007

Really funny, Bill. I miss you!

Tweets that mention Bill III’s Blog » Have you ever printed a boarding pass? -- Topsy.com  on February 25th, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by henriquemartin, Vaibhav. Vaibhav said: This guy printed a poster-sized boarding pass! http://bit.ly/fyPZlM […]

sheka  on April 18th, 2011

interesting way to do boarding pass as long as it worked i give you to two thumbs up

emt2536  on April 19th, 2011

Priceless…wonder if I could get away with that here in the Northeast…lol

walbert knutzbeier  on April 19th, 2011

hi la ri ous … MAN !!!
you should’ve printed that on a 3.3m wide phoenix… it would’ve been carpet size man !!!

truly great

ScaredyCat  on April 20th, 2011

Next time do it with a microscopic boarding pass. Remember to take your electron microscope with you though, I don’t think they have them at airports 🙂

wired  on April 20th, 2011

Awesome! I’ve been laughing all morning!
I’ll have to try that one day too 🙂

Moe  on April 20th, 2011

Awesome. Just awesome.

Very entertaining – although I’m surprised you didn’t get held back for a few hours of questioning on the basis of being “suspicious”.

Gross, grösser, riesig: Der Riesen-Boardingpass » Travelblogger  on April 20th, 2011

[…] und diese statt auf einem “normalen” Printer auf einem Grossformatdrucker ausgedruckt. Und er hatte damit mächtig Spass bei seiner […]

Daisy  on April 20th, 2011

You just gave me a much needed laugh! It’s people like you that make the world a much funnier place.
I sometimes wear costumes to pick by boyfriend up from the airport. People stare and point.. and I LOVE IT!

Pete  on April 20th, 2011

Next time, try it in the other direction…Print it on a postage stamp size…

admin  on April 22nd, 2011

I have been thinking of this as well. I was trying to find a way to put my boarding pass into one of those view finders we had as a kid. Here is an example. http://amzn.to/ezcOqE I thought that would be the logical next step. 🙂

josh  on April 20th, 2011

made my day.

Ken Biggle  on April 21st, 2011

There is still humor in the world! Great! Glad TSA took it in stride. My experiences would have said otherwise! Great gag! Great idea!

Lucasbim  on April 21st, 2011

Hahahaha! Made my day!!

Mere  on April 21st, 2011

Good thing you didn’t fly on a different airline that has those new super secret watermarks that only show up when its printed, specifically designed to keep people from taking screen shots of a boarding pass that may not be theirs.
p.s. if you think that flight was long, try flying to Australia.

admin  on April 22nd, 2011

I’ve been to Australia a couple times, and that is a long flight. Anything over 5 hours for me makes for a long flight.

Paul Campy  on April 21st, 2011

Brilliant, love it. Just goes to show TSA are only human after all.

Josh  on April 21st, 2011

Thank you for the smile on my face, great story!

Chuck F.  on April 22nd, 2011

Thank you. That *really* made me smile.

evanism  on April 22nd, 2011

I’m actually amazed that they didn’t drag you over the coals. I could imagine that TSA guy thinking “we’ll get this smart arse back”….. but it is terribly cool!

Dave the rave, UK  on April 22nd, 2011

If this happend in the U.K he would have been jailed for upsetting the system!. No sense of humour here!

Steve  on May 4th, 2011

Nonsense! This would have gone down just as well over here as anyway.

Shawnee Michael  on April 22nd, 2011

Something I would have done, as I read the comments, it made me think, best to also print out a regular size as a backup. You never know, right.

admin  on April 22nd, 2011

I did have a regular sized one in my pocket as a backup just in case things were beginning to deteriorate.

Michael Hodson  on April 22nd, 2011

really funny stuff — well done and glad it was well received by everyone along the line.

Vishnu Das  on April 22nd, 2011

well, that was some creativity.like to see more people come out with these kind of ideas.lol…

LUIS JAVIER  on April 22nd, 2011

nice really and fun…

Brian  on April 22nd, 2011

Inspiring. I might like to try to print my boarding pass out as a photo cake. THAT would be fun! Might not make it (without sample slices) all the way through security! ha

Giant boarding pass - FlyerTalk Forums  on April 22nd, 2011

[…] Traveler prints his boarding passes on a poster printer. They are 1.5 by 3…feet. http://bbryson.com/bill/2007/10/12/h…boarding-pass/ Editited to fix link. Last edited by sjclynn; Today at 10:49 […]

Robert  on April 22nd, 2011

That is hilarious! I would’ve never thought to do something like that….great job!!!:D

craym0nk  on April 23rd, 2011

Oh man, don’t give me ideas. I work in the large format area at a printers, our biggest machine (they make bigger ones) takes 2.5m wide banner material for billboards. Hhhrrmmmm…

Laura  on April 23rd, 2011

Got this from a friend – LOVE it! Gotta do something to break up the monotony of TSA 🙂

Paula  on April 26th, 2011

Thanks for the laugh 🙂

weeKatieTweets  on April 26th, 2011

how cool is that!!! 🙂
you made some people smile – good job.

Raphael  on May 2nd, 2011

Holy hilarious coolness – AA Rafael

Fernando Bellizzi  on May 2nd, 2011

Great! 🙂

stan  on May 2nd, 2011

I tried that once, for some reason if I print my BP from Mozilla it will be a whole sheet of paper. In a hurry and not wanting to make a new one from IE I used it. TSA did not see any humor in it at all. Rude and nasty about it, they would not except it and told me to go to ticket counter to get a new one.

admin  on May 2nd, 2011

Hi Stan,

Sorry to hear you had a different experience. When I printed mine I checked all over to see if there was a size requirement. It was stated anywhere, so I figured I’d have a bit of a leg to stand on. When push comes to shove though they get final say. 🙂

Locke  on May 3rd, 2011

Hilarious, and greetings fellow Alaskan. I actually found this page from StumbleUpon and only read it because you mentioned Unalakleet in the second sentence and it made me do a ‘wait, what?’ I’ll probably forget to come back here later so good luck in your exploits and e-mail me if you care. Cheers!

Dolph Lundgren  on May 4th, 2011


I just printed this webpage (yes, yours!) on a 30 x 30 feet huge piece of tarp. I now show it to people and watch them as they break into molecules laughing. Man, it’s big…

For my next project, I’m going the other way – the entire wikipedia.com engraved on a cherry pit. Keep a lookout for that one. I’m not gonna tell you bout it more than once…

Beth  on May 9th, 2011

Having lived in Anchorage for a number of years, I’m glad to see the TSA agents there haven’t lost their sense of humor!

Hank  on May 12th, 2011

ha that’s class. I would have expected at least one staff member to be a dick about it.

Carol  on June 5th, 2011

That was without a doubt the funniest thing ever! Viva la humour!

Jesusspiced  on July 3rd, 2011

You’re a brave, brilliant dude.

Sally  on July 6th, 2011

Ha, ha. Great fun, I’d love to try something like this but wouldn’t have the nerve – I’d probably encounter a ‘jobs worth’ who would let me through 🙂

juliact15  on July 7th, 2011

at O’Hare this wouldn’t be taken so lightly…lol. great prank

dave  on July 14th, 2011

Oh the privilege of being white. You can do fun pranks at the airport.

BommelDing (NL)  on July 18th, 2011

Wow, awesome!

it2051229  on October 11th, 2011

Lol, nice to start a great day for TSA.

mary  on November 1st, 2011

Funny, but I’d hate to be behind you in line, there always seems to be enough delays and not enough staff at the airports i fly out as is.

marvin nubwaxer  on April 6th, 2012

well ain’t you just sooooooooo clever.

Boarding Pass Checks by Cabin Crew - Page 2 - FlyerTalk Forums  on July 2nd, 2013

[…] little funny story about BP's for those who may not have read it. __________________ New: 2013 Hong Kong Trip […]

Donna Cerca Uomo Milano  on August 7th, 2013

You were lucky … it’s a good thing they enjoyed the idea but you could have gotten arrested

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