International Travel – Many Security Points
Consider the security of Lufthansa, the German Airline, who began biometric boarding at LAX, in April 2018. After standing in line to board a long time, I find it fascinating that Lufthansa boarded 350 people into their A380 in just about 20 minutes. We should all be so fortunate. With such quick boarding, the concept of “boarding zones” will die the death it deserves. Or is that wishful thinking?
So how do they go about getting so many people aboard in so little time? The boarding pass was the key.
- Self-boarding gates with sophisticated facial recognition cameras capture passengers’ facial images as they approach the device;
- This image is securely sent to the Customs and Border Patrol database for real-time matching and verification;
- After a successful, instantaneous match within a few seconds, the system recognizes the passenger as “boarded”;
- The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate; no boarding passes or passports are needed — simply walk aboard.
Such devices are more than mere convenience. They reduce stress and waiting time for the passenger and increase the degree of security for the airline and airport. I remember on my flight journeys one particularly stressful boarding. The stated boarding time was passed, but we all stood in anticipation of an imminent signal that it was OK to board. It was a rude shock to be told that the plane, now delayed for an additional 90 minutes, would not board for another hour.
Yes, I understand that bio-metrics would not have eliminated the delay, but the stress of standing, waiting to be received onto the plane would have been reduced. No need to be in “zone one” as all would board quickly once the plane was ready.
The trial in Los Angeles will open the door to an expanded pilot program at other US airports. Another step forward will be use by other airlines for their own passengers of the software technology developed by Lufthansa Group’s IT partner, Amadeus. The technology is under the watchful eye of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Los Angeles World Airports Authority.