The Future of Biometrics and Traveling

August 9, 2017 0 Comments in Biometrics by Erin Birmingham

Biometrics are a part of a very exciting and fast-growing field. Biometrics are ways you can be identified from just yourself.  The ways biometrics can be collected are by using fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, as well as facial recognition scanners. These are all quick, painless and secure ways in which you can be identified as long as your information is already in the secure identification database.

Traveling is an imporatant part of life. Some people do it for work, some do it for enjoymentk, and some do it for both. Each day, all around the world people are traveling via trains, cars and airplanes. Along with that, there are advancements in the world of biometrics, all intended to improve each of the means of traveling.

Recently, many of the world's best travel companies have strated to embrace biometrics as way to improve the travel experience while at the same time strengthen security. For example, various companies are starting to explore ways to identify passengers via biometrics only, eliminating the need for boarding passes. This blog explores some of these new ways biometric technology will make traveling easier and safer.  

Clear and Pre

Clear is as service that uses biometrics and helps you avoid the hassle of taking out your identification card at the airport, as well as waiting in the line that goes with it. Clear's website says: 

“The Clear Travel Experience

Clear speeds you through the long line for ID check, and guides you to the screening line.

Enrolled in PreCheck? We’ll provide you with fast access to PreCheck screening for eligible flights.”

Clear is not available at all airports and has a video that shows you how to enroll. Enrolling is super easy and once you enrolled you just need to show up, scan your boarding pass and scan your fingers! Clear is just $15 a month and if your children are under 18 and with you, they can go for free. This is a great time saver, to help make your travel plans go smoother and more efficient.

Delta and Clear


Recently, I have been reading many articles about Delta and their trial uses of biometrics in order to improve customer service. The theory behind this is by having machines and technology take over the boarding process, bag drop off and other steps, the customer service reps can spend more time interacting with the customer in hopes of giving them the best experience possible. With all of the negative news about airlines lately, I think it is incredibly important for all of them to continue working on improving. Delta has even partnered with Clear in some of their latest technology endeavors. At Washington International Airport, currently in the first phase of this trial, customers that are both members of the Delta SkyMiles Program and Clear will be able to use just their two fingerprints to gain access to the Delta Sky Club. I like how this will save time. 

Phase 2

Eventually, Delta hopes to allow passengers to check their bag, visit the Delta Sky Club and board their flight, all with their fingerprints. This will be tested in Washington at DCA as well in hopes of success to be used at other Delta Airports. I really am hopeful that this will go well. I'm looking forward to not having to worry about losing my boarding pass or ID at the airport. This would definitely reduce stress associated with travel.

 Bags 


Imagine dropping off your bags with nothing, just yourself and the bag. That is actually happening now for some Delta Customers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport airport in Minnesota. This is because Delta is using facial technology to match your bag to your face once it's checked in. As I mentioned earlier, by not having to show anything besides what's already on your person Delta is making it so much easier and more efficient. Delta also uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on their customer's bags. With this technology, along with their App, customers are able to track where their bags are at all times. They also get push notifications when their bag moves somewhere else. This technology will be helpful in figuring out where your bag is.

 Trains


Trains were one of the original forms of transportation. In the United Kingdom, specifically at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, they are researching and hopefully soon to be testing the ability to go paper free on the train system. The only thing that would be needed is your face. With facial recognition, they would then bill to your account. This will save time, as well as leave less of a paper trail. I really like this idea, I know personally it is a pain to keep track of my metro card as well as to remember to add money. The technology is so good, that it cannot be fooled by holding up a picture of someone's face! If the testing goes well, I can see this spreading throughout Europe and even come to North America. I would be really interested in seeing this in person.

So the future of traveling is closer than we once thought. Based on how well Delta’s trials go, they will continue to expand their biometrics travel. I believe that other airlines will follow suit. For example, JetBlue has already started to on flights to Aruba from Boston. I predict that JetBlue will also expand their biometrics travel. I also think if all goes well in the U.K with payment and boarding based on facial recognization, that will see more of that for train travel. Overall, I think there is an exciting and fast-paced growing future for biometrics and traveling.

 Want to learn how to keep your data safe for the travel season?