Facial recognition for a seamless airport experience

If we consider that a good travel experience is characterized by fluidity, we can only say that we are far from it. As long as you are online everything is fine, it is when you arrive at the airport that things get complicated.

Immigration and security checks, boarding. We spend our time stopping, waiting in line, getting out and showing our travel documents. So of course there are priority lanes for “status” passengers but they only make the unbearable a little more bearable.

Facial recognition in airports is already a reality

A major area of progress concerns passenger identification and recognition. And in this respect, the progress made in biometrics and facial recognition is starting to allow for interesting things, so much so that we are beginning to dream of a really possible fluid experience in the near future.

Last week we were talking about the arrival of biometric passenger recognition at Air France and a facial recognition system at AirAsia.

Initiatives in this direction are multiplying. In the United States, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), an industry association, is conducting a number of biometric recognition pilots for a seamless experience at every touchpoint.

In Orlando, Lufthansa passengers to Munich can board by showing their face to a camera. British Airways and JetBlue are conducting similar experiments in the United States, and Air France has been testing a facial recognition boarding gate for some time.

La reconnaissance faciale allie vitesse et précision

According to Lufthansa it takes 2 seconds per passenger. British Airways talks about 10 minutes to board a 240 passengerd flight. All this with a 99% success rate.

Beyond a better experience for the passenger, it is the whole boarding process that is impacted with the consequences that can be imagined for the companies but also for the airports if the gate occupancy time is drastically reduced.

Facial recognition and the fear of Big Brother

And when we talk about facial recognition, we have the same concerns as those raised at the time of the introduction of the biometric passport. But to the power of 1000.

In the United States, a senator has introduced an ordinance that, if passed, will tighten controls on facial recognition devices. Even worse, San Francisco is considering banning the sale and use of the device even for law enforcement. In the absence of real federal legislation, this would only concern San Francisco, but we can already worry that such initiatives will spread.

This is a subject on which it is becoming important to legislate in order to reassure the passenger while deriving the maximum benefit from technologies that can significantly improve the passenger’s journey while, in the long term, suggesting substantial savings for companies and airports.


Photo : facial recognition by metamorworks via Shutterstock



Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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