Biometrics and the airline passenger

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
UK passport

the image at the bottom – the bio security mark will enable all of us in time to go through the automated gates

Flying back into Gatwick recently I was stopped by border control and asked what I did for a living. My passport says “marketer” but much of the day is given over to travel writing so that is what I said. But where are your visas I was asked? As a travel writer shouldn’t your passport be stuffed with them?

The answer is no. Apart from the fact that most British and Irish holiday in EU countries where no passport stamps are required, the rest of the world is altering too.

Trips to Australia used to get an arrival and departure stamp. No more do I get them. The biometric passport is read by a scanner at a separate section –when it works – it speeds up the dreary habit of getting through airports.
Biometric technology is will grow significantly in the coming years.

The main reasons are that it speeds up passenger handling which pleases passengers who forever have queues and airports locked together symbiotically in their minds and the second is that it releases staff for other duties.
A report a few months back by the aviation support company, SITA, forecast that 77% of airports and 71% of airlines are planning upgrades or research and development in biometric ID management over the next three years. In addition interest in artificial intelligence is seeing a surge with 84% of airlines planning to have AI development programs in place by 2021.

The ultimate goal is that no-one will be interviewed by a border officer. We will all go through automated booths. The question then becomes how many booths will you need and will the number be enough to eliminate queues. Or are we just setting up another queuing system to replace the human one we have at he moment?

As the technology becomes smarter and more automation takes place I can’t really see me needing a 64 page passport for the next ten years. A 32 page one might do or even a smaller one (if one existed) as I imagine I will collect far fewer entry and departure stamps.

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