Boarding might become easier in the near future. German Lufthansa tested a new biometric boarding process at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and was able to board a huge Airbus A380 in 20 minutes using facial recognition! After the successful trial, Lufthansa is planning to roll it out to other US airports – say goodbye to your boarding pass!
Lufthansa worked with the LA Airport and the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to set up biometric boarding gates for the flight. Facial recognition cameras capture the passengers face and key data, like the distance of your eyes, nose or mouth, and perform a real-time match to the CBP database. Once the passenger is confirmed, he/she is allowed to board and registered as “boarded” in the system.
Lufthansa has used simple self-boarding gates in Germany for years, requiring you to scan your boarding to go through the boarding gate. This step simplifies the international boarding process, as it not only checks your flight information, but also matches it with your passport information, eliminating the need to validate boarding pass and passport.
For the airline and passengers, it simplifies the boarding process and should make it a little faster. I assume that a regular boarding process is still available to accommodate children or any passenger not comfortable with the automated process.
For US authorities, it addresses the desire to increase airline safety. It is curious that the US CBP is creating a sophisticated database of biometric data on international travelers. At the same time, there has been huge resistance in the US to having even a national ID out of fear for government overreach. Hence, the biometric boarding will not be available for US domestic flights anytime soon, as there is no data to check against.
You can read the Lufthansa Press Release for more details. If you’d like to get more travel related news or deals like this from around the world, please follow me on Twitter – I’m posting news daily, so you can stay up to date on the world of travel with my Twitter updates! Or, for a weekly update, sign up for my newsletter for a Sunday Summary!