Lufthansa Interview: Forget Your Boarding Pass – Your Face Will Be Enough To Board Flights

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Lufthansa has been rolling out biometric boarding across its services in the United States for some years. Now, the carrier is busy expanding this process within Germany. Simple Flying had the opportunity to speak with Bjoern Becker, Lufthansa’s senior director of product management for ground and digital services, about what to expect with the initiative.

Lufthansa Airbus A350
Lufthansa is expanding on its biometric strategy. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

New requirements

The global health crisis has undoubtedly rocked the aviation industry. As a result, airlines and airports are implementing measures to mitigate risk for passengers and staff.

Lufthansa has been spearheading actions on the ground to help keep operations running smoothly amid the pandemic. For instance, it is now offering antibody tests to passengers for free on a trial basis between Munich and Hamburg.

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Teruel, Aircraft Graveyard, Photos
Lufthansa would be hoping that these measures get planes off the ground quicker. Photo: Getty Images

Several benefits to be had

Even before the pandemic, Lufthansa had been pushing ahead with biometric boarding. This process is effective in speeding up boarding, to the benefit of both passengers and airlines. For example, in a 2019 test, Lufthansa boarded 350 passengers onto an Airbus A380 within 20 minutes.

Traditionally, companies promote the hassle-free aspects of biometric technology. Along with improvements in efficiency, there can also be an increase in security as facial scans are sent to border and customs officers.

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However, with the challenges that have come with COVID, there are now additional advantages to be found. As there is less need for contact with biometrics, aviation bodies are keen to venture further with the technology.

Lufthansa feels that, independent from the US introductions, biometrics will be the next big thing on the ground. The flag carrier of Germany is working with Star Alliance on a biometric program that will shortly be launched.

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Frankfurt is one of the airports undergoing progressive changes. Photo: Getty Images

The next stage

Becker explained the expansion process of the program across its services. Notably, passengers at the airline’s major hubs in Germany will be seeking to benefit from the initiative.

“So, if you are enrolled for the biometric program and if you are on a flight that has that on the gate, you can actually walk through the security. There’s a security gate in Frankfurt and Munich that is biometric, so you don’t need to use your boarding pass anymore,” Becker told Simple Flying.

“You just look at the camera and open it with your face and also do the same thing while boarding. It’s basically the same experience as you have already with the biometric exit in the US. That’s also one thing we will integrate; that’s the next step.”

Other carriers such as Emirates are also proudly rolling out biometric experiences at the airport. Altogether, these airlines are pioneering the process in this new era, and with a greater focus on hygiene, it won’t be a surprise to see more airlines follow suit this decade.

What are your thoughts about Lufthansa’s technological initiatives? Do you feel that more airlines should adopt this approach? Let us know what you think of the measures in the comment section.

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