business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Los Angeles Times reports that two airlines actually are asking their customers to give them the finger.

Or maybe an eye.

According to the Times, "The airline industry has begun testing the idea of using biometrics — facial recognition, retinal scans and fingerprints — to identify fliers as a way to boost security and make life easier for travelers.

"JetBlue Airways announced that it will begin to use facial recognition technology this month to verify the identity of passengers boarding flights between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba.

"Last week, Delta Air Lines began letting members of its loyalty reward program use their fingerprints as ID to enter the Delta Sky Club at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. If the test program goes well, the Atlanta-based airline says it plans to use fingerprints to let passengers check a bag or board a flight."

The story notes that "travel experts say such tests will help move the industry toward a time when fingerprints, facial recognition technology and other biometrics will replace boarding passes, passports and driver’s licenses as identification at airports."

I've noticed lately that when I use Clear stations is participating airports, they're not even asking to see my Clear card ... they just check my fingerprints, look at my boarding pass, and then escort me past the long security lines. (I love Clear. It is even better than TSA Pre-Check, in my experience ... and while having both may seem like wearing both a belt and suspenders, it is nice to have options that make the flying experience any more pleasant.)

It probably is fair to say that if the use of this technology becomes common at airports, it will find its way into many of the transactions we make every day.

It is, quite literally in this case, an Eye-Opener.
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