March 21, 2018
Lufthansa Boards 350 Passengers in 20 Minutes using Biometric Boarding

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The last two domestic flights I took began boarding 40 minutes before departure. Boarding these days is particularly frustrating because you want to be one of the first to board in order to get overhead bin space, but then you end up sitting in the plane for half an hour while everyone else boards.

Lufthansa’s normal boarding procedure is to lump First Class, Business Class, and Elite flyers into the first boarding group, and then everyone else into the second boarding group. This always leads to a mass of people hovering around the gate trying to board. Lufthansa tested a biometric boarding process at Los Angeles (LAX) recently and managed to board 350 people on an A380 in just 20 minutes.

Courtesy of Lufthansa

The airline used self-boarding gates equipped with facial recognition cameras. The cameras capture passengers’ faces and send the data to Customs and Border Protection for real-time matching. The system verifies passenger identities in a few seconds and opens the gate. No physical boarding pass is needed.

This is definitely very useful technology. Boarding 350 passengers in just 20 minutes is crazy fast. That kind of boarding speed would save a lot of time and expense over the course of a year. Delta, British Airways, JetBlue, and others are testing similar technology. Individual privacy is long gone at this point.

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