How to Board Zone 1 for Free on Every Flight

Over the years, I've spent a lot of time on planes, far more than the average person. Stand-up comedy and acting have taken me to thirty-five countries and my ten-year passport often causes a stir at border security. Firstly, because of the foreign stamps, secondly, when the photo was taken I had hair. Lots of it. I recently invented an airline life-hack that will allow anyone with an iPhone and a bit of confidence to board Zone 1 for free. There's nothing worse than waiting in a long line, only to get on a plane where the overhead bins are crammed, leaving you no choice but to gate-check your bag. Airlines either charge extra for pre-boarding, or they include it as part of a higher fare. Wherever you're sitting, I'm here to help you keep your money and still board first, because winning is awesome!

In order for this to work, you cannot have a printed ticket, you must be using an electronic boarding pass. Let's be honest, if you're still using a paper ticket then you probably also use a pager and listen to Nickelback, so just go away now, I don't want to help you.

Are you gone? Good.

The airlines give you twenty-four hours to check-in for your flight, this is plenty of time to perform a hack that takes no more than a few minutes.

Step One:
Bring your boarding pass up on your iPhone's screen. It's located in Wallet.

This used to be called Passbook, because Apple loves to change things for no f**king reason.

Step Two:
Take a screenshot of your boarding pass by pressing the home and lock button at the same time. Your screen will flash and it's saved to Photos.

Screenshot of boarding pass as it appears in Wallet.

Step Three:
Open a photo editing app. I use Pixelmator, but there are others on the App Store.


Click the "+" in the top left, then select Photos.


You'll then see your camera roll. Choose the recent screenshot.

Step Four:
Use the Select tool.


Select a section of blank background. Tap Done.

Touch the screen to prompt the menu. Hit Copy.

Step Five:
Hit Paste, then drag the cloned area over the zone number.


The field is now obscured by the matching layer.

Step Six:
Click Text. Add a "1". Adjust the font to Avenir and the size to 35 pt.


Bring the text layer to the front.


The zone number is aligned to the the left, just under the z.

Step Seven:
Save to Photos, then open it for your new boarding pass.

Congratulations, you're special!


Enable rotation lock so when you hand over the iPhone the image doesn't twist.

Perform this hack close to the flight, to avoid an eagle-eyed flight attendant noticing the drastic time difference.

It's totally cool to set it to Zone 2. There are usually only five to ten people boarding in Zone 1, so chill and you'll still be more than safe with the second flow.

Avenir 35 pt seems to be the universal font for boarding passes.

Some airlines refer to zones as Groups.

It's easy to get cocky and creative with this, so here are some examples of what not to do. Still, it's your call!



Remember this convenient, simple and amazing hack is for novelty use only.

Boarding first is great when you're this hungover.

Thanks for reading, let me know how it goes.

Tommy Campbell