From the "why didn't I think of that" file, American Airlines is allowing passengers to check in with their cell phones, rather than a paper boarding pass. The boarding pass is sent to the passenger's cell with a barcode. Zip, zip, you're on board.

So far, you might say it's a pilot program (pun intended). It's only available at Chicago's O'Hare. However, boarding by cell or PDA will also be available at LAX and John Wayne Airport in Orange County this week.

I expect this trend to spread. I can't resist making a pithy remark, however.

How is it that airlines can roll out new forward thinking services like mobile boarding passes, while the meals on wheels are an atrocity?