Facial recognition tech being tested for US flights

AP
Created: April 14, 2021 02:49 PM

San Francisco International Airport and United Airlines have become the first in the United States to trial a low-touch, biometric-enabled airport experience from check-in to boarding for domestic travelers on select flights.

Passengers participating in the trial link their driver's license to their facial scan at check-in.

They can then move through the airport, from check-in to bag drop, security and boarding by simply scanning their face at each checkpoint, eliminating the need to repeatedly present an ID or boarding pass

Passengers will also be able to access United's airport lounges using facial recognition once they reopen after being closed due to the pandemic.

The technology, developed by Switzerland-based SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), already exists for international flights at several airports around the world including Athens, Greece, Beijing, China and Doha, Qatar.

But this is the first time it's being used for US domestic flights, which SITA says makes up about 80 percent of the U.S. airline market.

SITA says the technology increases safety by reducing passenger surface contact and agent interactions. It can also reduce processing times and potentially cut down on long airport lines.

To address privacy concerns, SITA says that biometric information is stored locally at the airport and is automatically deleted after flights.

If the trial is successful, SITA says it may expand the technology to other US airports and airlines.


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