Remember years ago when travel used to be enjoyable? Friends and family could come inside and have lunch with you before your departure or meeting you at the gate as you stepped off the plane. Security wasn’t so picky as to what you could bring in your overnight bag. Plenty of non-stop routes. Lots of seating room on airlines? Remember when? I do. That’s how it was when I began my career in biometrics nearly 25 years ago.
Well, as we all know, the events that took place on 9/11 changed air travel forever. The last 19 years have been plagued by rules and regulations just to get inside security. Don’t get me started on trying to find a place to grab a quick lunch where you can actually sit down and eat. The airports are packed with people from all of the connections, you’re lucky to find a counter to lean on. Airlines now cram as many seats into one airplane as possible to maximize revenues using fewer planes which also means fewer direct routes. More connections, more security. The list goes on and on. Let’s face it, the fun has been taken out of air travel.
Now ring in the new year. Its 2020, air travel is simply a necessary evil of today’s global workforce. Then Covid-19 hits and the world realized that the 300,000+ flights daily from all over the world are helping to spread the disease like wildfire.
So – what are the CDC and industry leaders talking about now to further protect air travel? Mask wearing is being instituted by airlines around the globe. Some airports are also calling for it, handing out masks to travelers that forgot theirs at home. It seems we’ll be required masks from the time we step into the airport, till the time we leave the airport in the destination city. How will you have an enjoyable meal wearing a mask? How will you feel after breathing your own air all day? Imagine meetings with a customer or vendor in an airport wearing a mask? I’m annoyed just thinking about it. Then there is the potential for temperature screenings which no doubt will make the lines even longer.
The question on my mind is, could facial recognition bring back some convenience to air travel? What if you could check in using just your face? Go through security using your face without passing documents and germs back and forth? Could you use your face as your boarding pass to eliminate people fumbling with the screen brightness on their phones or for the old-fashioned sort who use paper passes, losing them in their luggage. For this to become a reality, facial recognition with mask detection will be required.
Many airlines have been thinking about how to make opt-in programs for frequent travelers to provide perks beyond what is available today as just another number. What if the gate agent could hold the door a little longer because they knew a diamond member was moments away? What about the many airline lounges welcoming you by name as they recognize you walking by? Could other services be brought to you if the store or restaurant knew you were nearby? Using facial recognition with mask detection – the possibilities are as broad as our imagination.
Given all of the inconveniences in today’s air travel, would you opt in with your face to make your day a little brighter? It’s all about personalization or picking the frequent traveler out of the crowd to offer special services that haven’t been previously available. It’s time facial recognition becomes a reality for those that want some relief from the modern-day inconvenience.
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