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Forget mobile check-in, biometric boarding is the new way to fly

If you’re flying through Amsterdam, your airport experience is set to get a whole lot easier.

KLM Airlines have joined up with Schiphol Airport to improve the boarding experience with facial recognition, or ‘biometric boarding’, as they’ve named it.

Currently running for a minimum of three months through Amsterdam’s International Airport, the idea is to improve efficiency and security, while also streamlining the whole process of checking in and boarding. Developers hope to use it to improve passenger experience by removing the need to constantly show ID through airport check-in.

Users register their details before their flight and scan their boarding passes, passports and faces at a special kiosk, which is all meant to take about two minutes. Once all their details have been accepted into the system, passengers are off on their merry way, bypassing security and going straight to their gate.

A passenger scans in their boarding pass and passport at a kiosk

In theory, this could be an excellent way to screen for potential criminals, and monitor interesting flying patterns and behaviours, while generally improving flying for regular passengers. However, while KLM are surely taking every precaution to protect the data of passengers by erasing data after the information is no longer required, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Millions of people travelling through Schiphol with the potential for thousands of users of the facial recognition system equals a lot of valuable information.

This trial happens to run alongside another trial Schiphol airport and KLM are collaborating together on where they allow passengers to keep laptops and liquids in their carry-on luggage. Schiphol and KLM are developing technologies to make flying easier.

If the trials are successful, it’s easy to envision the program being expanded out to other airports internationally. Travelling internationally could be made exponentially easier with this technology. Or at least we could all feel mildly less annoyed trying to get our boarding passes and laptops sorted out while trying to navigate the endless maze that is the international departure wing.

About the author

Adelaide has been writing about video games and tech for 5 years. She calls herself a “quasi-professional nerd” due to the immense amount of nerdy stuff that fills her house, including a life-size CL4P-TP

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