I have written a lot about technology in travel and how it can sometimes adversely affect us but for the most part, how it greatly enhances the travel experience. We will always have the need for face-to-face personal interactions and to feel that we are not just a number, because travel can have its daunting aspects. It’s always good to know that someone has got your back so we should never allow technology to remove that, however when technology is created to make the travel experience simply more seamless I believe it is a great thing.
As a seasoned traveller, I understand the need to eliminate some of its more tedious aspects but I also understand the necessity for security and for systems to be in place. It was with some delight that recently when embarking on a cruise I was identified via facial recognition and so when disembarking I was not required to produce my ticket. This typical example of streamlining the travel experience got me thinking about the where this might be happening in other areas of travel, and so I began to look into what was afoot internationally in this respect. I found a few applications where new technologies can help us to remove some of the currently more irritating aspects of travel…
The face is the new pass
It appears, according to a very good article I read by Conde Nast Traveller, that airports in the US, in particular, are adopting facial recognition technology at a rapid pace and your face is becoming not only your pass through security checks but is soon to become your boarding pass too. What a win that would be, as you can’t lose your face when in transit! The way it works according to the article is via “an updated ID scanner fitted with a biometric camera that uses facial recognition to verify passengers’ identities. The new machines match traveller’s facial scans to the photos on their driver’s license or passport and verifies that they’re a ticketed airline passenger”.
Eliminating irritating aspects of security checks
Another great article from the same source talks about CT scanners that will enable passengers when they go through x-ray security checks to leave most things inside their carry-ons, including laptops and other large electronics, their travel-sized liquids, and most food items. The way this works according to the article is, “the scanners use computed tomography technology to produce a 3D, rotatable image of luggage contents, giving security officers a clearer idea of what’s inside each bag. It’s similar to the technology that hospitals use in their CT scanners”. There are even plans in the USA for pre-checks and “fast passes” that will enable passengers who plan ahead to avoid having to remove clothing items and move ahead in the security check queue!
A baggage mishandling boost
Something that has become a major issue since the comeback from COVID is baggage mishandling and loss, so much so that many travellers are even wary of checking baggage in. The technological knight in shining armour in this respect may be SITA which is an IT provider for the air transport industry including airlines, airports, aircraft and governments. According to a “PhocusWire” article they are working on a “WorldTracer Auto Reflight system which automatically identifies bags that are not likely to make their planned connecting flight and re-books them on the next possible flight using the existing bag tag – all while keeping the passenger informed. SITA estimates that automating transfer operations could save the industry up to $30 million per year”.
As we gratefully return to the travel and tourism figures of 2019 (and even surpass them) we are in dire need of the kinds of technologies which enhance and ultimately create seamless travel. Let’s be grateful therefore that we have industry technology partners that never settle for the mundane and will always seek to create the ultimate, frictionless travel experience.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER