Imagine traveling through an airport and never once needing to show your ID or boarding pass. No awkward digging through your purse. No struggle to remove your driver’s license out of that little plastic sleeve. No panic when you can’t get your boarding pass to load on your phone.
Biometric technology is bringing this reality to airports all around the world, including at Tampa International Airport (code TPA). “Right now, it’s on the edge of happening,” said Senior IT Manager Doug Wycoff, who is spearheading the initiative for TPA .
TPA is joining airports around the country to implement facial recognition to streamline the passenger experience. The facial recognition devices take the place of showing your passport at the gate. TPA will debut the technology this summer at three international gates as part of a federal mandate to use biometrics for screening all departing international passengers. After a trial period, TPA plans to install the technology at ten gates by 2020.
“This will enhance customer experience by speeding up the boarding process,” said Director of Guest Services Daniel Glennon. “Essentially, it’s an iPad on a stand that serves as a camera as you’re getting in line. Within a matter of seconds, it can determine your identification.”
Eventually, the screening will serve as both your passport and boarding pass so you won’t need to show any ID at the gate.
TPA will also install electronic gates at the entrance to one shuttle this summer to test the concept for use at all four shuttle entrances. Passengers will simply scan their boarding passes at the E-gate to gain access to the shuttle, replacing the current system that requires manual scanning.
Wycoff says this type of technology is used in airports in Asia and Europe. It helps provide a quicker passenger experience, greater security and provides TPA with more accurate information passenger metrics.
Tampa International Airport has direct flight to London, UK and other European cities.