05.09.2019

Lufthansa expands biometric boarding technology to New York JFK’s Terminal 1

  • Lufthansa to introduce biometric boarding at fourth U.S. airport
  • Future biometric boarding plans for other airports throughout United States

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is now the fourth U.S. airport that will offer biometric boarding for Lufthansa flights. This innovative, one step process utilizes facial recognition to board the entire aircraft efficiently and seamlessly. The Lufthansa Group has once more successfully collaborated with IT partners Amadeus and VisionBox, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and partners at JFK, in order to make this exciting technology available for Lufthansa passengers.

With rising passenger volumes and demand for quicker boarding processes, Lufthansa has turned to biometrics as one solution. Biometric boarding relies on data provided by the CBP, a central source of information that allows for exceptional efficiency while still prioritizing passengers’ safety and security. The real-time matching rate of passenger images is currently very high, at over 99%, which is a result of the extensive amount of photos already existing within the CBP database. Thus, Lufthansa abides by the detailed regulations put forth by the United States authorities, while simultaneously improving the passenger experience.

“A Lufthansa Group priority is to constantly improve our customer experience with modern technology and innovative solutions.” said Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services for Lufthansa. “With this goal in mind, Lufthansa is taking the necessary steps to continue enhancing travel through technology. One such step is biometric boarding, which provides more rapid solutions when boarding an aircraft. We anticipate for this technology to continue growing and to introduce it to more gateways throughout the United States.”

“Lufthansa is committed to provide a top-of-the-line flight experience for its customers during all phases of their travels, including boarding” said Frank Naeve, Vice President of Sales in The Americas. “Introducing the biometric boarding system at JFK, one of the world’s largest hubs and an important market for us, continues to demonstrate Lufthansa’s commitment to innovation and technology in order to make our passenger’s trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible.”

Here is how biometric boarding works:

  • Self-boarding gates with sophisticated facial recognition cameras capture passengers’ facial images as they approach the device.
  • This image is securely sent to the CBP database for real-time matching and verification.
  • After a successful, instantaneous match within a few seconds, the system recognizes the passenger as “boarded”.
  • The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate.

Lufthansa’s initial biometric boarding trials were a success at LAX in Los Angeles and MCO in Orlando, and then followed by Miami earlier this year. Amadeus, the provider of Lufthansa’s Passenger Service System (Altéa) which includes the Altéa Departure Control solution, developed the biometric enhancement together with Lufthansa.

Passengers interested in utilizing biometric technology are urged to do so, with the exception of those eligible for preboarding, like families with small children. Those who are weary of the scanners will still have the option to board traditionally with an agent. Lufthansa ensures passenger privacy by only transmitting traveler’s photos and avoids storing them in any Lufthansa database.