Smart technology permeates all aspects of our lives and is now getting a little more intrusive or efficient at worldwide airports, concerts, and events, depending on your viewpoint.
The first to use biometric boarding passes for international flights, British Airways just announced that it is bringing biometric identification to gates at Orlando, Miami and New York airports, joining Los Angeles which had been testing the process since November, 2017. The Los Angeles biometric test reduced the boarding process to just 22 minutes which was less than half the time of the original boarding time.
In combination with technology partner, SITA, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), the new technology removes the need for travelers to show their passports and boarding passes at the departure gate which significantly speeds up boarding and simplifies the process. Rather, customers are scanned via high-definition camera technology prior to boarding. Once their unique facial features (biometric data) are matched with their passport, visa or immigration photos, they walk onto the aircraft.
A growing list of airlines, such as Delta, United Airlines, and Jet Blue are incorporating biometric screening to their check-in and boarding procedures to ease the boarding process and create efficiencies. Although not all U.S. airlines are fully using biometric screening, the practice is becoming more prevalent as the months go by.
Some of these airlines are partnering with tech companies who specialize in biometric screening. Clear, for example, established in 2010, is a leader in the field and operates in more than 30 U.S. airports and sport stadiums nationwide. Delta Airlines, in partnership with Clear, has been testing its own biometric screening pilot at DCA. Privately held, Clear also conducts biometric screening for events, concerts, and corporate meetings. While Clear is not a substitute for TSA pre-check, travelers can use both Clear and TSA pre-check if they opt into both programs.
Travelers are becoming more accustomed to using technology at the airport. Both airlines and travelers benefit from the speediness and ease of the onboard process when using biometric screening. Still, biometric screening has possible vulnerabilities, such as machine malfunction – this could result in even longer wait times at check-in lines.
In the future, we can count on seeing an expansion of biometric screening throughout airports, airlines, and mass appeal stadium and concert events. Biometric screening might also one day be enhanced to not only include facial recognition software, but an overall health check to replace fever screening that takes place in response to worldwide flu outbreaks, Ebola flare ups, and other infectious disease alerts.
Are you for biometric screening? Do you see it as speeding up the boarding process? What other biometrics do you think society can benefit from? Tweet me at @circledotmktg.
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Sharon Gee is a consultant and marketer who specializes in helping global companies, start-ups, and small businesses thrive. A strategic thinker, Sharon supports CEOs and business leaders reach their goals through research, innovation, customer analysis, communication, and social media prowess.