Using biometric scanners, Lufthansa have made boarding a plane much faster
Recently, there has been much ink spilt over the best method to for passengers to board a plane. Should those in window seats get on first? Or those at the rear? Or should it just be a free-for-all? Lufthansa think they’ve solved it.
In a test at LAX, the German flag carrier tried out self-boarding using facial-recognition technology invented by travel technology company Amadeus. They claim to have boarded approximately 350 passengers onto an A380 in about 20 minutes.
However, there is no word as to whether they have managed to remove the bottleneck at row five as a passenger struggles to place their oversized carry-on in the overhead bin.
The technology uses Vision Box biometric technology to take a picture of each passenger’s face, which is immediately whipped through the ether to the US Customs and Border Protection. CBP match and verify the face to their database in real-time, and within a few seconds the passenger has permission to board.
This removes the need for a passenger to show their boarding pass at the gate, and removes one hurdle that can slow the boarding process – the ticket that won’t beep when scanned.
“We anticipate that in near time, biometric boarding, as well as other aspects of the air travel experience, will be widely utilised across the U.S. and beyond,” Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services for Lufthansa, said.
Amadeus developed the technology, called Altéa Departure Control, in partnership with Lufthansa and, following the trials at LAX, they expect to roll it out across the United States and begin to offer it to other airlines.
This will mean that airlines no longer need to create and maintain their own biometric databases – they will be able to instantly connect to information held in a central source, in this case held by the CBP, to increase both accuracy and efficiency.
“The increasing need for airlines, airports and authorities to offer faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through the airport creates a unique opportunity for the use of biometrics,” Becker said.
“Lufthansa strives to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions. This is a further step towards achieving that goal.”
Guido Haarmann, Managing Director, Central and Eastern Europe, Airlines, Amadeus, said: “Biometric boarding has enormous potential to make the travel experience easier and less stressful.
“Last year, over 1.6 billion passengers boarded planes using Amadeus Altéa technology.
“Amadeus’ mission is to develop technology that creates better journeys for travellers worldwide, and it is a pleasure to be working with our established partner Lufthansa to bring this innovative technology to market.”
John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner at the CBP Office of Field Operations, said: “CBP is excited to work with air travel industry partners like Lufthansa to demonstrate how facial biometrics can provide a range of traveler benefits for a secure and seamless passenger experience.”