Arun Bright, Lead Product Owner, Sabre Global Development Center, Bengaluru, 0
Air travel becomes cumbersome when traveler has to go through the routine of going through the security procedure to board the aircraft.But imagine walking into the airport, and you are detected by smart systems that automatically checks-in you in to your flight, let you walk past security and immigration checks then allow you to board the flight without having to present any travel document like passport, visa or even boarding pass. With evolution in technology, this experience is no longer a distant dream. Technology systems that leverage travellers Biometrics information can be a game changer in this space.
Advanced airport check-in systems are integrated with countries government security systems to get realtime security clearance for travellers during the check-in process, ensuring only legitimate travellers enter their country. The government determines if a traveller can enter the country based on the profile along with the passport, visa and other details. With the advance in biometrics, each traveller can be uniquely identified with their biometric information, and these details can act as an alias to travel document details including boarding pass, passport and visa. Future check-in system could be built such that the traveller’s biometric information can be leveraged to replace travel documents such as passport, visa and boarding pass, to provide a seamless experience for the traveller. In the absence of direct involvement by government bodies, IT system providers could provide this option to those travellers who agree to share their biometric details for air travel.
With world air travel expected to double in the next two decades, the travel industry has not missed out on adopting this wave of biometrics to reduce the queue time at the airport. IATA (trade association of world’s airlines), has introduced IATA’s One ID1. One ID, travellers will no longer need to present travel documents multiple times in their journey. With a one-time identification, travellers can be easily recognized across all travellers touchpoint. This means travellers will not have to present the document multiple times but use the single biometric identification token for the entire travel. IATA quotes as ‘One ID will enable passengers to arrive at the airport ready to fly in nearly every travel scenario’.
The accuracy level of biometic devices at the airports must be very high, else there will be breach of security at border control, allowing wrong travellers cross international boundary
Data protection plays a vital role in the success of biometric boarding. If unauthorized person /group get access to traveller’s biometric data, it would spell disaster as these data can be exploited to trick the system artificially. The accuracy level of biometic devices at the airports must be very high, else there will be breach of security at border control allowing wrong travellerscross international boundary. There could be resistance from the travellers to share their biometric details in the early days of this technology wave, there could be pressure on the IT spending to supporting the new technology as data privacy play a major role. However, the industry is welcoming these changes. Biometric boarding has already become a way of life in a few airports in the US. In future biometrics would be extended for all touchpoints in a passenger journey, when this happens air travel will be as simple as walking into airport, drop the bags at the baggage kiosk, walk past the security clearance, and then proceed to boarding gate.
With more technology advances around IoT, wearable device, biometric passport, biometrics will be accepted as the norm in many areas of life for identity management. This can be leveraged check-in from the hotel and on the curbside. The next level to this would be integrated traveller’s social media feed along withbiometrics to profile the travellers. New technology will have some learning curve for the traveller to get comfortable to use these systems in the absence of an airport agent. These technologies would make travel seamless for sure, but this would remove the human touch that is presently found at the airport, whether it is good or bad it can only be debated when the rubber hits the road.