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:
- Arriving at the airport, you will take a picture at a kiosk or check-in counter.
- That picture will be automatically matched to your passport photo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.