Boarding Pass API

Mobile boarding pass creation and delivery solution

The Boarding Pass API is a managed service provided by SITA Lab allowing airlines complete flexibility in the creation and distribution of mobile boarding passes.

With secure access to their own partition on the SITA developers’ platform, airlines have full control over the branding, configuration and information management of online and mobile boarding passes using their own app development team or agency. The API integrates into the airline’s other systems, streamlining existing airline business processes and mobile strategies.

Key Features
  • Secure, developer friendly console for pass customisation
  • Ready to go templates for quick and easy branding of passes
  • Support for Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet, Google Now and Evernote applications including updates
  • Distribution of boarding passes via SMS or email
  • Support for push notifications using the SITA Push API
  • Comprehensive reports, analytics and API health monitoring
  • Full staging and development testing capabilities
  • Support for barcode security signing
  • TSA Pre√™ support
  • Uses UTF-8 character set for generation of boarding passes in Korean, Chinese and Arabic


An airline’s check-in system makes a single call to the API with the passenger name and flight details. The Boarding Pass API creates and delivers a mobile boarding pass to the passenger’s mobile phone and provides confirmation of delivery. Boarding passes are delivered via SMS, email or by using push notifications to registered Smartphone applications.

Airline branded passes contain an IATA standard and TSA compliant 2-dimensional barcode required to pass security and board a plane.

Open Integrates with any check-in system and all mobile devices
Secure Controlled access to secure partitions by airlines or developers who are authorised by that airline
Flexible All passenger visible branding and content (SMS, email, web pages) is fully customisable by the airline
Reliable Highly available system hosted in multiple regions
Cost Effective A managed service with cost and roadmap amortised by many SITA member airlines.
Compliant Meets IATA and TSA requirements.
Innovative SITA is continually investing to keep pace with new developments in mobile technology

Optional Barcode Signing

For flights originating in the USA, the digital signing of barcodes and the management of security certificates and key pairs is required by the TSA and is a major aspect of the API design.

SITA streamlines this operation and supports the management of the security aspect of the boarding pass process with its secure and fully integrated Barcode Signing applications.

TSA Preê Screening Support

TSA Preê information, which is embedded in the barcode, is also supported for boarding passes. The API console enables you to customise passes for TSA Preê notification to the passenger.

Digital Wallet Support

The SITA Boarding Pass API fully supports Passbook on iOS 6 or later and Samsung Wallet. Support for other digital wallets is currently under development.

Passes can be updated dynamically via the push notification service which notifies the user of important updates such as gate changes at the airport or changes to scheduled departure times.

Evernote is also supported to help with trip planning, enabling boarding passes to be stored with itineraries, confirmations, scanned travel documents, maps and plans.

Google Now

Boarding Pass API includes a feature to support Google Now, the personal intelligent assistant for Android and iPhone mobile devices.

Using this feature, passengers can get real-time flight status information on the way to the airport or have their boarding pass displayed automatically at the appropriate time to help them sail easily through security and on to the gate. Google Now brings all the reminders and updates to the home or lock screen of the device, so passengers don’t even have to open the app.

Note:The Boarding Pass API is not a check in engine and does not check passengers in to a DCS. The API is used by check-in applications to create and distribute mobile boarding passes. For information on SITA’s mobile check in solutions, refer to the SITA Horizon Passenger Mobile Product.

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Create a Boarding Pass

Use this form to create and send a sample boarding pass to your phone which you can load into Passbook

After adding the pass to Apple Passbook, use 'Update Flight' to push a gate change to your Passbook boarding pass

Read the Demo Script for more information on how to use this demo.

Passbook will provide notifications on passengers phone, remember to show passenger how to delete these.

How it works

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Boarding Pass API?

It is an RESTful API that airline’s can use to create and distribute boarding passes for their passengers. One call to the API creates and distributes a mobile friendly boarding pass over email, SMS, web (PC and mobile) and smartphone push notification and mobile wallets such as Apple Passbook.

Does the Boarding Pass API support IATA and TSA requirements

Yes. The solution meets all industry standards set by IATA, the industry’s standards body, and country specific encryption requirements, including those set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for USA flights. SITA can:

  • sign the barcode on behalf of the airline but all TSA interaction is managed by the airline, or
  • enable the airline to retain full control of the process of barcode signing and interaction with the TSA.
Does the Boarding Pass API need to integrate with airline DCS or RES systems?

No. The Boarding Pass API is called after the passenger has checked in on the airline DCS system. The airline’s current online check-in system just needs to make a single call to the API and pass the passenger name and flight details. The Boarding Pass API handles everything else, and provides confirmation of delivery back to the airline.

What mobile devices are supported by the API?

Boarding passes can be distributed to most modern mobile devices with a data connection and a browser. Some features, such as push notifications, only work with Smartphones such as iPhone or Android devices. Many airlines include boarding passes as part of a dedicated Smartphone app though a app is not necessary for the service to work. Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet, Google Now and Evernote are supported and SITA plans to support other similar services soon.

How secure is the API?

Each airline that registers to use the API is assigned a secure partition in which to develop its boarding pass apps. This partition cannot be accessed by another airline or information cannot be overlapped with any other airline partition. The partition is also protected with different user access levels to restrict access to various features within the partition. An API key is also issued to the airline to authenticate API calls from that airline’s check-in or departure control application.

What is an API key? What does it do?

In order to use the API, a developer must first register. As part of the registration approval, a unique API key is assigned. API key(s) are used by the airlines when calling (invoking) the API. They API key is used to authenticate the API call. It is also used for tracking the applications API usage for billing, API health monitoring and reporting purposes. Many times developers have multiple API keys to the same API in order to differentiate between apps (e.g., one key for iPhone app, a different key for Android or web app, etc.)

How do I access the API?

In addition to the portal, access is also granted to a separate self-service administrator giving airlines full control over the branding, configuration and information management of online and mobile boarding passes. To demonstrate how this console functions, a Quick Start guide is provided to enable to create your first boarding pass in a few minutes.

Can I evaluate the API?

All airlines can have a free evaluation of the API. All you need to do is register on this page and you can start your free evaluation. It may take a few days for SITA to setup your own test partition.

Does the API support mobile wallets?

The API currently supports Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet and Google Now. oOher mobile OEM wallets and NFC (Near Field Communications) will be supported in the future.

Can flight updates or gate changes be updated on the boarding pass?

Yes. The API uses push notifications to updates any changes to the boarding pass.

Can I customize the look and feel of the boarding pass?

Yes, it is fully customisable. The API provides a fully customisable template for mobile web pages, SMS, Passbook via the console enabling you to upload images and logos, set background colours, set fonts, and emphasise text elements, etc.

Can I target specific categories of boarding passes with information only relevant to them?

The API enables you to set up specific distribution channels which can target information for specific types of boarding passes and specific types of passengers for example, high loyalty status, first class cabin, etc.)

Does the API provide any reports or statistics?

Yes. The API provides a comprehensive set of reports, analytics and API health monitoring views.

What are SITA’s uptime objectives for API servers?

SITA is committed to 99.95% uptime on our SLA.
Service availability is checked every minute by Monitis Inc. from two locations, one in the US and one in Europe. We are currently exceeding our uptime objective as shown on the availability report for 2013 which is published on

How often and when will maintenance windows be required?

The system is currently designed to have zero downtime during redeployment i.e. a new revision of software is loaded without downtime.

How frequent are system backups and for how long is data stored?

Full database backups are performed daily for all partitions on the system and stored for a period of 30 days.

What is SITA’s SLA objective for recovery in case of system failure?

The database servers are configured in High Availability mode. A primary DB instance supports the application and synchronously replicates the data to a secondary instance which is located in a different Availability Zone (separate server, network, power, storage and building). In case of failure of the primary or planned maintenance, the application automatically switches over to the secondary.

Disaster Recovery – how quickly does the system take to recover from a critical fault to enable the users to continue?

The application is load balanced across application servers in two availability zones in the US East Region. Availability Zones are distinct locations that are engineered to be insulated from failures in other Availability Zones and provide inexpensive, low latency network connectivity to other Availability Zones in the same Region. Failover between Availability Zones is automatic. A system backup is available in the Singapore Region. Failover to this is manual.

How long are boarding pass logs archived for?

Data Retention
Boarding Pass data is retained for a period of 6 months, during which time the pass will be available. This period can be customized per partition/airline by SITA. Currently, configuration of this period is not available via the self-service console, but is planned for the future.

Note: This applies to Boarding Pass Data and Transaction Logs. Key events for the boarding pass, for example SMS delivery acknowledgement, are stored in transaction tables for each partition.

Server Logs
Server logs are currently stored for a period of 30 days to enable problem diagnosis and resolution. As a server may support several partitions, this data is not available to individual airlines.

Airline specific transaction support logs are available in the support section of the self-service console.

How secure is my data?

No sensitive or personal data is:

  • Viewable by database administrators
  • Transported across JDBC connections, or
  • Available unencrypted in database backups.

The tradeoff for this security is that the API does not support searches for boarding passes with partial emails, phone numbers and other searchable fields using SQL LIKE or wildcard statements.

How much does the Boarding Pass API cost?

Please contact Rico Barandun, API Product Manager, for details of pricing.

Where can I get more information?

Please refer to the API Documentation section on this page for further information.
You can also contact:

Rico Barandun
Product Manager, Boarding Pass API

Garry Kelly
Lead Engineer, Boarding Pass API

Who uses it

Access the API

To access the Production API, log in to the AdminConsole. This requires a account and access to an API Partition

To access the Staging/Test API, log in to the AdminConsole. This requires a account and access to an API Partition

View the Current Production Status here

View the Current Staging Status here

View the Current SLA Report here, 2013 archive

Terms & Pricing

Cost effective managed service

To request a copy of the commercial terms and Service Level Agreement (SLA), please contact the API Manager or your SITA account representative.

Talk to Us

If you have any questions, please contact:

Rico Barandun
Product Manager, Boarding Pass API

Garry Kelly
Lead Engineer, Boarding Pass API