Ready to use your phone as your passport? American Airlines just took a pretty high-tech leap when it comes to how passengers can board international flights. The carrier now allows passengers to scan their passports using their phones. The big thing to know is that you'll need to download and use the American Airlines app if you want to take advantage of this perk.

How exactly does all of this work? American Airlines is using something called Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to provide the option of scanning your passport instead of using the traditional method. You will be asked to enter some basic information regarding your passport when you go through the check-in process for an international flight with American Airlines. You will then simply be able to use your phone to scan the chip that is located on the back of your passport. Android and iOS mobile devices other than phones can also be used for the process.

Will scanning your passport really save you time when trying to board an international flight? The reality is that this option probably isn't going to cut a ton of time from the boarding process based on what we're seeing right now. You will still need to show your passport during the boarding process if you choose the scanning option. However, the big difference is that an airline employee won't need to open and scan your passport if you choose the self-scanning option. American Airlines is pretty optimistic that the new scanning option will be helpful in cases where passports haven't been scanned for the domestic legs of longer international trips.

The new scanning feature is already available for a portion of American Airlines app users right now. The program will be slowly expanding in the days to come. One thing to keep in mind is that the scanning option is currently only available for American Airlines customers traveling on single-traveler itineraries. It is expected that American Airlines will expand the option to include multi-person itineraries in the future.

Image source: American Airlines

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: