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Air France to trial biometric boarding cards

AFP | September 5, 2007

French airline Air France said Wednesday it planned to trial biometric boarding passes that would allow passengers to be fast-tracked through airport checks using a scan of their fingerprint.

Passengers who volunteer to take part in the pilot scheme, from end 2007, will be asked to load a digital record of their index print onto an individual chip card, Air France officials told a press conference.

Using scanners and dedicated check-in lanes, biometric card holders will be able to print out their own boarding pass and board the plane via an electronic gate that checks the match between their fingerprint and the one on the card.

The scheme will initially be trialled for two months among 1,000 Air France staff on the Paris-Amsterdam service, to be extended to 2,000 frequent flyers on the same route.

If the tests are successful, the biometric cards will be offered to between 10 and 15 percent of Air France customers, either as a frequent flyer perk or a paying premium which could also be used to control access to rental cars or hotel rooms.

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