Looking over the Customs and Boarder Protections website dedicated to the new mobile passport system, I found some oddities in where the service is being made available. I was taken back when I looked up where the mobile passport system was and was not available to passengers.
Two stand outs became obvious to me, first was that Philadelphia was not listed as a supported airport. This is very odd since Philadelphia was a major international connection point for US Airways flights. Now that American Airlines has taken over US Airways, these flights still operate for the most part to many European destinations. With heavy European traffic, as well as traffic from Qatar Airways, British Airways and other foreign air carriers, it would seem to make sense that the mobile boarding pass system would be rolled out quite quickly at Philadelphia. Oddly enough it isn't even listed as an airport where the service is coming soon.
After seeing that Philadelphia is not on the list for mobile passports, I looked to see which airports were on the list. Most of them made a lot of sense with one exception.... RDU. Raleigh-Durham Airport is well past its hay day. The airport once saw major traffic from a short lived American Airlines hub at the airport, but American Airlines closed that hub in the 90's. Midway Airlines operated a hub until post 9/11 events caused Midway to shutter the hub as well. Passenger traffic declined for many years and only in the last 1-2 years has stabilized and ceased with passenger loss.
RDU still operates a single American Airlines flight to Gatwick airport in England that has been long running due to local business traffic. Outside of that flight, the international traffic is largely centered around Caribbean vacation destinations. With such a low flow of international traffic at Raleigh-Durham Airport, it seems odd that the Customs and Boarder Protection would focus efforts on mobile passport systems here over a major airport like Philadelphia.
I fully expect Philadelphia to be brought into the fold at some point, but when that will be is anyone's guess. At this point is seems longer than it should have taken.
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8