Spirit Airlines Launches Biometric Boarding At Fort Lauderdale

Spirit Airlines has become the first airline to launch biometric boarding at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport. The move will remove one contact point at the airport, as a growing emphasis is placed on reducing human interaction, given the current pandemic.

Spirit Getty
Spirit Airlines has launched biometric boarding for international passengers in Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Getty Images

Biometrics have been steadily rolling out in the aviation industry over the last decade. For many years Europeans have been able to access the United Kingdom without showing a passport. However, the rollout to other parts of the airport and other parts of the world has been a relatively slow process. Spirit is one airline currently pursuing biometric airport experiences.

Fort Lauderdale biometric boarding

Spirit Airlines today revealed that it was rolling out biometric boarding of international flights at Fort Lauderdale Airport with the help of Amadeus. The system has been installed at 14 of the airline’s gates in Terminal 4 of the Hollywood International Airport.

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The system has a high-resolution 3D camera and connects to the Customs and Border Protection Traveler Verification System. Here, the image from the gate is matched against images from the CBP’s database. Once a match is generated, the gate will allow the passenger to board the flight, and they will also be marked as boarded in Spirit’s systems.

Spirit Airlines, Biometric Check-in, Chicago, New York
Biometric technology reduces face-to-face interaction at a time where airlines are trying to boost such hygiene measures. Photo: Spirit Airlines

Commenting, Spirit Airlines’ Vice President of Airport Services Mike Byrom said,

“Spirit is rolling out reduced-contact experiences for Guests across the country, and the work we’re doing with Amadeus in Fort Lauderdale is a great example of that. Biometric technology will let us make the trip from curb to gate faster and easier, and it’s part of what we call the ‘Airport of the Future.'”

Not the only Spirit biometric introduction

Spirit’s system for biometric boarding isn’t the airline’s first foray into biometric technology. In September, Simple Flying reported that the airline had begun offering biometric check-in solutions in New York La Guardia Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport.

Biometric technology allows airlines and airports to streamline passengers’ path to get from origin to destination. Indeed, Emirates recently revealed that it was launching complete biometric pathways at Dubai Airport, meaning that passengers would never need to interact with humans.

Emirates, Biometric Pathway, Dubai Airport
Emirates recently rolled out complete biometric pathways in Dubai. Photo: Emirates

However, while such technologies were already being pursued before the COVID-19 pandemic, the current circumstances mean that they provide an added boon. By negating the need for human to human contact at critical points of the airport journey, biometric technologies also help reduce the spread of the virus in the airport environment.

While Spirit Airlines was the launch customer for biometric boarding at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport, the technology will be made available to any international airline using the facility that wishes to do so.

What are your thoughts on biometrics at the airport. Are they simplifying life or an invasion of privacy? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!