Redisigning a boarding pass

More and more people get on a plane to go abroad, but many airlines still keep their awfully designed flight tickets to this day. In this week’s assignment, I redesigned one of those bad examples.

This is the ticket in question:

 Absolutely chaotic and hard to find desired information. No offence, Delta.

I needed to determine the hierarchy of the information for the redesigning work. And for that, I had to look up some codes and numbers on the boarding pass to figure out what they mean and also think about a journey of a passenger with a flight ticket.

I found out that the codes such as TSA PRECHK, DOCS-OK, BCN FC0259 are related to the security and may need to be shown to the staff at the airport. Regarding of the other codes like DL4014637690 and LL1R8US, I failed to identify what they are. As LL1R8US is only written on one side of the ticket while DL4014637690 is on both sides, I decided to ignore LL1R8US and just use the other one supposing it’s a booking number and also has a possibility to be referred by the airport staff.

Next is a passenger’s journey starting from the moment that he/she get a boarding pass and ending when the travel finishes. I listed possible events in which the passenger need the ticket in order of occurrence:

(Reference image) User journey in an airport;
  1. Get the ticket; You check the gate number and the boarding time
  2. Enter into the departure gate; The staff ask you to show your passport and the boarding pass. They might check your name on them.
  3. At the airport security checkpoint; Your name and security/document related information might be needed
  4. At the immigration desk; Your name and the barcode might be necessary.
  5. Duty-free shopping; The shop staff ask your name and the flight number on the ticket.
  6. Boarding; You usually check the boarding time and the gate several times until you get on the plane. Flight attendants scan your barcode and at this point, they take one part of your boarding pass and you keep the other.
  7. On the plane; You and cabin crews check your seat number. Moreover, you might check the actual departure time, but it isn’t necessary.
  8. On arrival; You have to complete the landing card and need your flight number for it.
  9. At the immigration desk; You show your remaining ticket to the immigration officer. He/she might check your name, flight number and the airport of departure.
  10. Claim the luggage; You need your luggage number in the case of lost
  11. After the travel; You might ask the airlines company the mileage, or complain to them about something. In this case, you need a proof of your journey with a boarding ticket with your name, boarding date, itinerary and the flight number on it.

The green keywords are the essential information that has to be included on the boarding pass, and the bold green words especially have the highest priority in each step.

From this journey, I noticed that the priority of the information on the boarding pass changes depending on the step of the journey and also the people who see the boarding pass. Therefore, I decided to split the ticket into three parts: the section for the airport staff before departure, the section for the passenger before departure, and the section for the passenger after departure.

Before getting started the actual design work, I looked through other redesign examples of boarding passes for reference.

Most of them were traditionally designed with better-organised structure and without unnecessary information though, one example particularly caught my eyes. It was unconventionally designed in vertical considering the readability when a passenger put it in their passport. The vertical design seemed to match well with my three-section boarding ticket as it can hold each information in a separate row.

And following is the basic layout based on the research and my analysis so far:

I put the barcode between section 2 and 3 because it is only used before boarding and it can be located at the end of the ticket when section 3 is folded. It is more convenient to have a barcode at the edge of a document for scanning. Although the original boarding pass has two types of barcode, I thought it wasn’t necessary. Moreover, there are a lot of other airlines’ examples which only have one barcode.

Here is the next version that I arranged the information on the layout above considering its priority and time order:

It shows the grid that I worked on



Clear view without the grid

I added icons to the high-priority information such as flight number, gate, boarding time and seat number expecting they help people understand their meaning intuitively.

I also wanted to give the boarding pass Delta airlines’ identical look, so I searched its logo and their website design. It seemed that blue with red emphasis is their own colour.


Using the second logo image, I emphasised the high priority information area in section 2 and 3. Then an unexpected effect was obtained besides the aesthetic aspect when I applied it to my ticket. The red symbol also helped people’s attention to flow to the intended direction and emphasised critical parts:

In fact, I arranged the TSA Pre logo in section 1 and the Delta logo in section 3 next to the passenger’s name at first. However, it will be a problem if the passenger has a long name, so I changed their location like above. Below shows the case of a passenger with a long name.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole redesigning process. It was a great opportunity to apply what I learnt into practice. It took really long time to research the fundamental information and make a design that has its reason, though it was a meaningful time to enhance my design skill.



  • Flight:
  • Gate:
  • Seat: (modified)

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