Are you the kind of person who wears a tin foil hat? Scared the government is going to track your every move and hunt you down? If that is you, you’re just not going to like the fact that biometrics are a huge part of 21st century life.
When it comes to the travel experience, this technology has the potential to streamline the airport experience. Imagine not having to get out your documents for scanning at every step – bliss, right? We are closer to this than you may think.
What Are Biometrics?
You have probably come across biometric authentication in your life. The most simple example is where you use your fingerprint to unlock your mobile phone – it recognises who you are due to a part of your body. This is also used with the new facial authentication systems.
When you are travelling, you may have used automatic Passport control gates to enter a country. The system takes a photo of your face and matches it to your Passport, then you’re allowed in to the country – this is another example of biometrics in action.
According to Flight Global, the future is already here for some people. British Airways flights from Orlando to London Gatwick used automatic boarding gates integrated with US Customs and Border Protection. This allowed 240 passengers to board in 10 minutes, which is a great time saving.
Air Asia introduced FACES (Fast Airport Clearance Experience System) at Senai International Airport which you can see above. You enrol through a dedicated kiosk at the airport, which is then valid for as long as your Passport. You then use the system as many times as you like to board your flight.
What Is It Like?
There are automated boarding gates in London Heathrow and I find them to be quite easy to use. Step on the yellow feet, look at the camera and in a few seconds you get a green light to board. It is quicker than having a person board you.
Goals down the line include an end to end airport experience without having to wait at a booth or see a person. Imagine walking in to the airport, dropping off a bag, going through security and boarding with no stopping at all. Could be fun!
Biometrics are here to stay and they certainly have the potential to make a lot of things a lot easier. I recently started using Apple Pay which has virtually eliminated the requirement for me to hold a wallet. I pay for literally everything in person using my phone, thanks to everywhere in the UK and Ireland accepting contactless payments.
What do you think of this technology and its potential to enhance travel? Excellent idea, or does the thought of various organisations having your personal data including fingerprints and faces make you feel uneasy? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Harry Quan on Unsplash.