person in airport looking at phone

Imagining the Elevated Passenger Journey Through Digital Identity Verification

Nearly six million people fly every day, and each passenger deserves a stress-free experience with fewer delays. However, the passenger airport journey is a complex, high-stakes process that needs to strike a perfect balance between security and convenience.

From a modern operational standpoint, the passenger journey begins at home, with mobile check-in. A traveler proceeds to the airport, completes check-in and checks luggage before entering the security line. After clearing security, travelers are free to use their limited time at airport amenities like restaurants, retail stores or VIP lounges before they enter another queue to board the plane. But the journey is not done there — on arrival for international flights, customs and border control need to be processed, bags need to be retrieved and in some cases, passed through a final security checkpoint.

Each of those interactions requires identity verification: a user proving they are who they say they are. If the verification processes are too friction-heavy or if they fail altogether, operations can stall, flights can be delayed, baggage can be lost and national security can be compromised. Meanwhile the passenger is stuck at the airport in the middle of all these delays.

Check-in Mobile Check-in Bag Tag Bag Collection Border Control In Flight Boarding Shopping Bag Drop Security Lounge Access
Swift and accurate identity verification empowers a secure, seamless and self-service travel journey throughout the airport touchpoints

Eliminating Friction With Biometrics

Seamless identity verification is the key to a better passenger journey. Thankfully, biometric and digital identity verification are already making the process easier, faster and more secure.

Identity verification technologies are enabling travelers to anchor trust at the start of their journey.  Passengers simply use their mobile phones to take a selfie, register their face as a biometric credential, and take a picture of the government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, to prove their identity.

The trusted credential established in this first interaction during mobile check-in can be carried forward to all airport touchpoints, from check-in to bag drop, to security, boarding and beyond. Passengers are no longer required to show their ID and boarding passes throughout the airport journey. Validating their identity with a simple face scan, passengers can move through airports more quickly, securely and seamlessly.

The Future of Air Travel Starts Now

This is not a vision of the future. Identity verification using biometrics is changing the passenger experience today. According to the 2022 IATA Global Passenger Survey, one in three travelers has used biometrics on their journey, and 88% of the passengers are satisfied with the biometric process. The technology is gaining popularity as 75% of passengers surveyed by IATA want to use biometrics instead of passports or boarding passes. And there is good news for them: biometrics and digital identity authentication adoption among the aviation industry are increasing rapidly to meet that demand.

1 in 3 pe ople h a v e u s e d biom e trics in their t r a v el journ e y . 88% of pas s enge r s a r e satisfied with the ov e r all p r o ce ss. 75% of pas s enge r s w a n t t o u s e biom e trics ins t ead of pass p o r ts or b oa r ding pas s e s. Biom e trics A r e Gaining Mome n tum

76% of airlines and 82% of airports have either implemented biometrics for passengers or have planned initiatives to do so by 2024 — it’s a major priority for IT spending — according to SITA’s 2021 Air Transport IT Insights. The future is bright for airline passengers, thanks to the increased priority of using biometrics for identity verification.

Biometrics: A Priority for IT Spending 74% of airports are investing in biometric ID management solutions for passengers by 2024. 82% of airports have implemented or are planning to implement biometrics for self check-in by 2024. 76% of airlines have implemented or have planned initiatives for using biometrics for passengers by 2024.

In this four-part blog series, we will be exploring the ins and outs of air travel’s identity verification-driven transformation. We will dig into the challenges currently faced by airlines and airport operators, and how to address them with identity technologies. We will also spotlight the core philosophy behind these identity technologies, and how they can enhance privacy and security. And finally, we will present a modular identity verification approach that will enable air travel stakeholders to start improving passenger experiences today.

Learn more about the passenger journey and how modular identity verification will transform the travel experience today. Download HID’s latest eBook: Elevating the Passenger Journey With Biometrics and Identity Verification.

Vito Fabbrizio is HID's Managing Director of Biometrics for Extended Access Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience in high-tech security hardware and software, driving strategic growth and product visibility for both mature and emerging markets. His unique blend of strategic and hands-on tactical skills has generated proven results to partners and customers in the security industry.