Fingerprints Will Replace Your Airplane Boarding Passes Soon

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know the hassles of the lines for boarding passes all too well. Well, what if you could bypass this process? I’m sure that got your attention, didn’t it? With new biometric identification devices on the list of possible changes to airport boarding, you very well could bypass long lines. Instead of waiting in line, handing over your tickets, driver’s license or ID and your first born child, you could simply put two fingers on the scanner and be done.

Delta Air Lines is spearheading this project that could cut down the wait time in boarding pass lines to just a few minutes – if that. Of course, there are issues that have to be worked out before this technology can be implemented in a wide spread area. The main issue is a long pre-flight checklist before it can be put into airports.

How It Works

The cool thing is how the technology will work. Delta’s system is based on biometric-identification technology that was developed by a New York firm called Clear. They provide expedited security screening services to travelers who have their retinas and fingerprints scanned for \$179 per year.

The Clear kiosks are already at 22 different airports as well as some sports venues. Delta has already partnered with Clear to offer discounts for the service to their SkyMiles frequent flyer program. So, if you’re a member, you can get this service for \$99 for general members, \$79 for elite members and top-tier fliers get it for free. Delta plans to put Clear fingerprint scanners both before and after security boundaries to make things quicker for its passengers.

Sandy Gordon, the Vice President of Airport Operations for Delta, said: “Our goal is to have it as a part of the customer’s check-in experience, from baggage check through the clubs and onto the gate.”

These Clear scanners are already in use at the Delta SkyClub lounge at Ronald Regan National Airport. Members can scan their fingerprints to gain access to the secure entrance instead of going through the process of pulling out their membership card or boarding pass. Of course, the scanners also work to help airlines, like Delta, upsell you to a SkyClub membership for the service. If you are not registered for SkyClub, it will tell the agent behind the counter when you scan your fingerprints.

Extra Baggage

For Delta, the best is yet to come when the biometric system is used to check baggage, clear the security checkpoints, head to the lounge and finally board the plane. However, the TSA has to give the ‘all clear’ first before that can happen. Gordon says that Delta is partnering with the TSA so they can get this approved as fast as possible for passengers.

For passengers, they will have to decide how much they are comfortable with on a personal level before they use the scanners. Clear stores so much data on an individual passenger beyond the biometric details of just their eyes and fingerprints. Passengers also have to scan in their driver’s license, add in their Social Security Number and so on.

The information required is a lot more than what is needed for Global Entry. Global Entry is the US government’s program that will let passengers go through customs and immigration by scanning fingerprints and their passport at a kiosk in the airport. Their service costs \$100 for five years of service.

Some groups aren’t comfortable with the amount of data that Clear keeps, even though the company has pledged not to sell or share the information. If you were to cancel your membership with Clear, you have to request that they delete your data since they don’t automatically delete it.

Will It Help?

Even though I’m not a frequent flier of any sorts, I personally cannot stand the massive lines throughout the airports. I think that if this is a way to streamline things so people can move through faster, that’s excellent. However, I hope that they don’t do away with actual people behind counters to help when the machinery is down or for those that are simply not comfortable with it. Having these kiosks to allow passengers to move through boarding and security, as well as other areas in the airport, will be a great help in reducing lines and wait times.

Trying not to melt away in the heat of Oklahoma, MD Weems has been a writer and artist for over 20 years. Her written works over all types of gaming have been used in college level game design textbooks as well as in US Patents over virtual character design. She has worked with gaming companies all over the world and is even cool enough to have her own Korean cartoon character.
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