Creating a seamless travel journey is the goal of future of passenger travel, and many in the aviation industry are looking to biometrics to create this experience. Biometrics at the airport enables passengers to use a single token to authenticate their identity when traveling through an airport, from check-in, to bag drop, through security, to boarding a flight and beyond. The experience not only improves the passenger experience, but also improves airport operations and alleviates challenges that arise with the increase of travelers.

“We believe biometrics is the future of passenger travel,” said to Chris Forrest, vice president of airports systems at Collins Aerospace. The company currently has biometrics trials underway with JetBlue Airways at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) in New York and a trial with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Soon, Collins Aerospace will start a trial for unattended self-bag drop using biometric facial scans and will implement a biometric point solution between two countries.

Forrest recently shared his views on the future of biometrics at the airport and in the aviation industry with Passenger Terminal Today and presented, “Improving the End-to-End Journey with Biometrics” for the Connected Aviation Today readers. We’ve highlighted a few of his thoughts below:

How do you see biometrics changing the passenger experience?

I think biometrics is going to revolutionize the passenger experience. Biometrics offers the capability to create an experience that is both safe and seamless, which is what passengers are asking for.


By using your face, fingerprint, iris, or a number of other options, as your biometric “token”, you eliminate the documents traditionally used to verify your identity. Imagine not having to worry about pulling out and showing your driver’s license, passport or boarding pass at every checkpoint in the airport. We also see that this single token may carry forward your flight through your destination airport and beyond.


While the experience isn’t available for all travelers yet, the use of biometrics to improve the passenger experience is gaining ground at airports around the world – and for good reason.


How do you believe biometrics technology will improve in the future?

New technologies are impacting the future of these programs and testing for 2019. Artificial intelligence, for example, is being used for facial recognition. This involves determining what a “live” face is, as opposed to a mask or an artificial image of a face, which is critical to maintaining security at an unattended bag drop, for example.

As more biometric trials progress, I think we will see full-scale production roll-outs in the relatively near future. Then the question becomes, how can we use that same technology further downstream in the check-in process, bag-drop process, and to meet security requirements to continue improving the entire travel process for passengers?


What will the passenger experience look like in 10 years’ time?

Biometrics has the opportunity to remake the passenger experience. Simply put, as passengers embrace self-service technologies, biometrics enables a much faster and more pleasant trip through the airport. We believe Collins Aerospace will be a leader in making that a reality.

Want to learn more about biometrics at the airport? Click here to listen to Chris present “Improving the End-to-End Journey with Biometrics.”

Shany Seawright

About Shany Seawright

A senior executive at Strategic Communications Group and Managing Editor of Connected Aviation Today, as well as other publications, Seawright oversees the editorial direction of the publication and managed the editorial staff.