Add airline tickets to your iPhone’s Wallet

Every iPhone comes with the Wallet app– a really handy app that’s often overlooked. You might think the Wallet is for money and credit cards, which it is, but it’s also for storing tickets to movies, concerts, and airline tickets. It’s all important, but airline tickets are what we’re going to talk about here.

What’s so cool about having airline tickets in the Wallet app?

Airline tickets in the Wallet app have two big advantages over printed plane tickets.

  1. Airline tickets in the Wallet contain everything about your flight: date, time, plane number, and gate– and they update when things change. Paper tickets just sit there, with the old information. If your gate changes, or the departure time changes, or if anything else changes, your tickets in the Wallet will update, so they’re always correct.
  2. Airline tickets in the Wallet magically float to the surface when the time is right and the location is right. That is, when you get to the airport on the day of your flight, a notification appears on the screen, reminding your of your flight… and if you tap it, the ticket shows up, ready to be scanned by TSA and again at the gate. Bonus: the Wallet knows that the scanners work best when your iPhone’s brightness is turned up full blast, so when the Wallet shows your pass it turns up the brightness for you. That way, you won’t be “that guy” holding up the line because he forgot to turn up the brightness.

How to add airline tickets to the Wallet, step by step

This example shows how to add tickets from Southwest Airlines to the Wallet app. Adding tickets from other airlines will be similar but not exactly the same.

First, let’s assume you’ve used the Southwest app on your iPhone to check in for your flight.

(Get the Southwest app at the App Store via the button below.)

App Store button with link to Southwest iPhone app.

Southwest shows you this screen when you’ve checked in. Here we see two flights, and two buttons for boarding passes, because my route is not non-stop. I have to change planes, so I have two boarding passes.

Checked in for my flights in the Southwest app.
Southwest App, showing Boarding pass buttons

If you tap either of those yellow “Boarding pass” buttons you’ll see a pass, as shown below:

Southwest Airlines boarding pass.
Southwest Airlines boarding pass

Sharp-eyed readers will see the white dots at the bottom. They indicate that there are two passes. We can show them by swiping left and right.

Technically we could use this boarding pass at the airport, but we want to add it to the Wallet app so we have all of our tickets and passes and gift cards etc. all in one place. So we look for the little “Add to Apple Wallet” button and tap it. It’s right there on the pass. Here’s an enlarged version of what you’re looking for:

Add to Apple Wallet button

After you tap the Add to Apple Wallet button you’ll see this:

Southwest boarding pass, previewed in the Apple Wallet
Southwest boarding pass previewed in the Apple Wallet

What you see there is a preview– the boarding pass isn’t in your Apple Wallet yet. You have to tap the “Add All” button at the top right. (If you only have one pass to add it will say “Add” instead of “Add All.”) So tap it.

You’re done! A notification about your boarding pass will appear automatically when it needs to. Just tap it and up pops the boarding pass.

Notification about a flight
Notification

How it looks in the Wallet

You don’t have to do anything else but maybe you want to have a look at your tickets anyway. So, let’s find the Wallet app and open it. The icon looks like this:

The Apple Wallet app icon.
The Apple Wallet app

The Wallet does lots of stuff so you’ll have to scroll past some things…

Apple Wallet app
Apple Wallet app

Scroll down until you see your tickets:

Lots of plane tickets in the Apple Wallet! Sorted chronologically, oldest at the bottom
Lots of plane tickets in the Apple Wallet! Sorted chronologically, oldest at the bottom

Tap a ticket and you can see all about it, like so (flight 935, Los Angeles to San Antonio)…

Boarding Pass in Apple Wallet
Boarding Pass in Apple Wallet

Or flight number 2, Phoenix to San Antonio The gate number for my connecting flight is right there on the pass, so when I arrive in Phoenix I don’t have to look around for a video screen with a listing of departing flights and gates. I’ll already know where to go.

Phoenix to Los Angeles
Phoenix to San Antonio, Gate C4

Odds and Ends

  • If you tap a pass that’s expired the bar code will be grey and you’ll see the words “This pass has expired.”
  • If you want to clean things up there’s an Edit Passes button at the very bottom of the list of passes.
  • The Wallet can hold gift cards, credit cards (for use with Apple Pay), evite invitations, Starbucks cards, movie tickets, membership cards, sporting event tickets– almost anything that can go in a real wallet can be stored in the Apple Wallet.

Next time you get tickets for anything online, look for an opportunity to “Add to Wallet.” Once you’ve gotten familiar with it you’ll see the value and really come to appreciate it.


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