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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology

Biometrics And What It Means For Business Travel

The travel industry, especially air security, has always at the forefront of the latest technology. Just think about, where was the first place you walked through a metal detector? Or walked through a scanning device? It was likely at an airport security line. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are always spearheading procedures to keep us safe. Want to know what they up its sleeve now? Look no further, it’s Biometrics.

 

What are biometrics?

We are all unique in our own way, like snowflakes. Biometrics is the act of using these physical and behavioral differences to identify individuals. Identifying through fingerprints is a common biometrics technique. New technology has made biometrics effective in other ways, like analyzing the irises of the eye and even full facial scans.

 

What will air travel look like in the distant future

Did you know that over 70% of airports and airlines are will be rolling out biometric scanning systems in the near future? While keeping our airports secure, they are also easing the experience for the traveler. Here is what the process will look like:

  1. Arriving at the airport, you will take a picture at a kiosk or check-in counter.
  2. That picture will be automatically matched to your passport photo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database.
  3. You can then proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. With this verification from DHS, you can walk through without taking out your id, boarding pass, and maybe even keep your shoes and jacket on.
  4. At the gate while boarding your plane, your face will be scanned one final time. You will then be cleared and can proceed to your seat.

 

How are biometrics currently being used in travel?

Though many airports and companies are steadily working to make this a possibility, a few innovators have already weaved together biometrics and travel.

  1. CLEAR has also been at the cutting edge of biometrics for years. As an alternative to TSA PreCheck, they use biometric eye scans and finger scans to verify identification of travelers through their private security check line.   
  2. Hertz recently sped up their car rental process with the help of biometric technology. Partnering with CLEAR, they’ve introduced Fast Lane. The traveler will simply select a car and drive it towards the exit. There, they will roll down the window for a biometric face scan. The camera will identify the traveler, then lift the gate so they can get on with their day. The entire process is expected to take about 30 seconds.  It is currently only available to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards accounts. Starting at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, it is expected to expand to more than 40 Hertz locations in 2019. 
  3. Delta is at the forefront of revolutionizing the entire airport experience we mentioned above. They have launched the first fully biometric airline terminal at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From the curb, to the baggage drop-off, through TSA checkpoint, and onto the plane; travelers will use facial recognition as identification throughout the entire airport experience. 
  4. Dubai airport has opened a new automated form of passport control. Though currently only available to business and first-class passengers, it is expected to completely replace immigration officials by 2020. Traveler’s identities will be checked and verified as they walk through a virtual aquarium, with cameras disguised as fish verifying identities. With the automated process, lines will essentially disappear, with estimates of cutting immigration control procedures to just 15 seconds. 

 

What are the benefits of biometrics for business travelers

Essentially, every step of the process through the airport will become more streamlined. You will no longer continually dig through your bag for your driver’s license or even your ticket. You will essentially walk from the curb of airport to the seat on your plane with minimal stops and lines. It is also expected to increase efficiency of the travel industry as a whole. Some say the time it takes boarding a plane will be reduced to 20 minutes. With this faster turnaround time, planes will take off on time and delays will be reduced. Overall, biometrics simplifies the process for business travelers and airlines, while also providing top-of-the-line security.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Definitely Dubai

I recently had the opportunity to take a family vacation to Dubai over Thanksgiving and I’m happy to report it was an amazing destination–certainly worth the 24 hours of travel time if took to get there.

Few cities in the world have undergone such rapid change as Dubai. Having started out as a fishing settlement, then becoming a pearl-diving center, and later transforming into a vibrant trading port, Dubai is today one of the fastest growing metropolises on earth. The city is positioned as the nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region and has become known as the “gateway between the east and west.”

Home to about 1.9 million people from nearly 200 nationalities, Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is safe, clean, politically stable, with a modern infrastructure, and the sun shines almost every day. While the official language is Arabic, English is equally used.

Emirates Airlines is the official airline of Dubai and maintains one of the newest fleets in the world. The aircraft and in-flight service were excellent which made our 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai quite manageable.

Some of the highlights of our trip were visiting the following sites and attractions:

  • Burj Kalifa – the tallest building in the world
  • Burj Al Arab – the tallest, all-suite hotel in the world
  • Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world
  • Ski Dubai – the only in-door ski resort in the world
  • Dubai Fountains – the largest fountain show in the world

Are you seeing a trend here? Dubai is very ambitious in their efforts to be record-breaking and staggering in their statistics. Even if your bucket list does not include a trip to Dubai, it is a destination worth paying attention to as they continue to make their mark in the world.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

How to Reduce Jet Lag

It has now been five days since I returned to the United States from a recent vacation to Dubai (which was fabulous, by the way), and my question every day for the last five days has been: How do international business travelers do it? Because I have the worst case of jet lag!
Dubai is 11 hours ahead of my home time zone and my first few days back at work were “killer.” As I have sought to recover and get back on schedule myself, I’ve learned a bit more about what jet lag really is and how to reduce it.
MedicineNet has been a fantastic resource with their list of 12 tips for minimizing the effects of jet lag, which include: avoiding alcohol (which causes dehydration, disrupts sleeping schedules, and triggers nausea), moving around on the plane (which promotes mental and physical acuity), and changing your schedule as much as possible before leaving on your trip.
Many of their recommendations I already normally do, but some were good to add to my list. Perhaps some of them will help you too.
And my hat goes off to all those international travelers who have somehow figured it out better than me …. or have they? If you have any tips or tricks, please share!