Travelling with Apple Watch

IMG_7305I said I wouldn’t do it, but I did.

I bought an Apple Watch.
I bought a version 1.0 Apple produce despite saying I wouldn’t do it.
For the past week I’ve been travelling between Toronto and Portland via Vancouver as I have done for the past 5 years, and this time rather than using paper boarding passes, rather than having to pull out my phone I used my watch.
Wow, what a difference.  I was skeptical, but it really has been a very cool and smooth experience.
Saturday I check in for my flight as I often do, using my phone.  I no longer use my laptop for this step because I’m a diehard Passbook, soon to be Wallet user.  I swear by Apple’s Passbook for thing like loyalty cards (PC Plus, Indigo, Cineplex) and boarding passes.
With a few seconds of having my boarding pass on my phone, it was on my watch.  Also, with the Air Canada app synced on my watch from my phone, my reminders and such were on my watch as well.
IMG_7302Arriving at the airport Sunday, it was clear that this was going to be the day of, “Oh cool!  My first watch!” which was the first thing the check-in agent said when checking in.  
  • Passing through the Nexus line, the two CATSA reps who scanned by boarding pass on my watch were somewhat surprised.
  • In the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge, I had a similar experience to check-in, lots of interest from the agents who were quite interested in the watch.
When boarding my first flight of the day, I put my arm out for the scanner when an alert popped up on the screen.  No I wasn’t denied boarding, I had to be given a paper boarding pass as I was upgraded to business class.  Woohoo!  Operational Upgrade for the win – my second in a month!
IMG_7307Arriving in Vancouver:
  • The first CATSA I met was skeptical of the code on my watch and scanned it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see my details flash on his screen and let me through.
  • The second person, an airport rep tracking flow through the terminal scanned my watch and thought it was cool.
  • The CATSA security gate was intrigued and suggested that I take my watch off and pass it through the bin next time.  Not sure why as it didn’t cause the metal detector to beep and I’m constantly being asked for my boarding pass (it’s on my phone usually!)
  • Scanning to confirm my bag was on it’s way to the US was quick as expected
  • The US CBP rep was intrigued, said that it was his first watch and was asking me a lot of questions about the functionality.
  • Finally, at the Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge, the agents were all intrigued about the watch, again their first, and wanted to see the Air Canada app, Wallet, etc… all in action.  
On my way back from Portland to Toronto, the experience was much the same with the exception that the gate agent in Portland had absolutely no idea that people could have a boarding pass on their watch and was kind of blind sided when I passed her my arm to scan.  Lounge agents are all-a-twitter about the watch.
IMG_7303I’m glad I could pop their Apple Watch cherry, but the real thing for me was convenience rather than the attention.  If I can make something easier for myself while I travel, I’ll do it.  It’s why I have Nexus, and why I strive for status on an airline.  This takes that experience to the next level. 
Do I *need* an Apple Watch for travel? No, it’s totally a want product rather than a need.  It did make things more convenient for me.  it works well, scanning is not an issue.  It works very well.
Now if only the Datavalet WiFi service worked in the lounge… 🙂

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