Boarding passes are a cumbersome form of entry. Fumbling for a paper form of identification while carrying luggage can slow the boarding process, not to mention easily lost or damaged. There’s got to be a better way. Biometrics, specifically facial recognition, holds potential as a faster, more convenient and efficient mode of identification at airports, and some, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and testing the technology.
The End of Paper Boarding Passes?
Passengers traveling with Cathay Pacific can now participate in a trial of facial recognition self-boarding at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This trial is part of the first phase of Seamless Flow, a program developed by Vision-Box, that intends to make paperless travel possible in the long term.
After checking in, passengers are invited to take part in the trial. Participants are escorted to one of the special registration kiosks. The passport and the boarding pass are scanned, while a high-quality face image is captured, in order to generate the traveler’s single token.
This will allow passengers to self-process through a boarding gate without having to show any documents. At the departure gate, they use a dedicated biometric-enabled eGate, where they simply have to look at a camera that scans their face. The live photo is automatically compared with the scan that was made at the registration process. When the face is identified, the gate opens and the passenger is boarded on the airline system. This only takes a few seconds.
“It’s all about the passenger. The whole idea of Seamless Flow is to modernize the airport landscape to improve the convenience, simplify the processes, propose modern interactions and deliver effective value to passengers. We’re very excited to continue working with our partners in this landmark program, offering Cathay Pacific customers with a pioneering seamless travel platform that will absolutely reshape how we travel,” says Miguel Leitmann, Vision-Box CEO
By making self-boarding available, Schiphol is closer to achieving a completely Seamless Flow, which aims at offering passengers more convenience and a frictionless flow across the airport.
Positive Experience for Passengers
“For passengers, the journey from arrival at the airport to boarding becomes easier and more efficient,” says Wilma van Dijk, Schiphol’s safety and security director. “Now you have to show your passport, your boarding card or both at various checkpoints at the airport, for example, when dropping your luggage, at the entrance to the security check, when passing the border and when you go boarding. In the future you can pass these control points more smoothly because you are recognized by your face. You can leave your passport and boarding pass in the bag. ”
“Cathay Pacific is always looking for ways to improve the experience of our customers at every stage of their journey with us, and the experience at the airport is an important and integral part of that journey. We are therefore happy to be part of this innovative trial, in order to prepare ourselves and our passengers for the future way of traveling,” adds Will Kerr-Muir, Cathay Pacific country manager Benelux & France.
In the coming months, scanning of the face, passport and boarding pass will be experienced during registration and boarding. The next phase will add passport control to the trial.