Some of you may already have heard or even experienced some biometric technologies in US airports, which have been in effect for a year or so. More recently, Star Alliance has agreed to a collaboration with NEC Corp, a global provider of information technology services and products, to create a biometric program designed for travelers who are alliance members. It’s completely optional and frequent fliers will have to opt-in in order to utilize the service.
Regardless of your membership status, the program is supposed to work across all airlines that are part of Star Alliance and is designed to be stress-free, smooth and efficient while passing through different points in the airport. Travelers will just need their smartphone to register and use the biometric program to check-in, drop off their luggage, access lounges, and board by simply using their face (as one currently does with the iPhone X). The hope is travelers can save a lot more time and enjoy it in places such as lounges or restaurants at the airport.
NEC Corp promises information and images to be secure in the platform, and although biometrics allows for quick passage through border control, there may be instances where physical passports will have to be shown to authorities.
The CEO of Star Alliance, Jeffrey Goh, stated that the alliance with NEC Corp “will help us make the way from curb to gate to aircraft a much simpler, yet innovative experience for our customers.” Unlike offering biometric systems at specific airports, this one will be much smoother since it’s designed for Star Alliance frequent fliers and will work across airports (rather than just at a single one). And although we don’t know which hubs the Star Alliance biometric program will be available at, it is rolling out the program next year (in 2020). Get ready! Soon, paper passes and passports will be a thing of the past.