Alaska Airlines has teamed up with the airport security firm CLEAR to test a biometrics platform that could one day replace traditional boarding passes. The biometrics system should make it even easier to check-in, and save passengers a bit of time before boarding a flight.
A kiosk machine at the Mineta San Jose International Airport scans a traveler's eye, or checks fingerprints, before hopping on a plane. It's a groundbreaking effort that costs members $179 per year, and is currently being tested in 12 US airports.
"We have no specific timeline, but we look forward to working with Alaska Airlines to expand our relationship to other cities in their network," said Ken Cornick, president and CFO of CLEAR, in a statement published by the San Jose Mercury News. "Having direct access to a boarding pass and not needing to print it or download it into their phone is both a significant customer advantage and security advantage."
There are a few problems that must be worked out - passengers can forget where their seat is, a check-in tablet might not be available at the gate, or the fingerprint scanners can be somewhat wonky. However, the biometrics technology is here and it will be curious to see how it develops over time, with more passengers giving it a try.