Retailers like Amazon keep making everyday experiences more seamless, and that means that consumers will see an ever more glaring contrast with the travel sector's often outdated processes.
Amazon would like consumers to treat their hands as a payment card, and the first travel sector application is at an airport shop in Texas.
Travel retailer Hudson, owned by Dufry, said on Tuesday it had deployed Amazon’s palm recognition system Amazon One post-security near Gate 10 at Dallas Love Field Airport. Passengers can pay at the store either by using a payment card with an automated machine or by holding their palm above an Amazon scanner.
Why a palm scan instead of a fingerprint, you may ask? It’s easier for today’s scanners to pick out the details of a palm vein pattern at a contactless distance than to accurately scan a fingerprint without the finger contacting a scanner. The pandemic’s push for contactless tech has amplified interest in contactless technologies. A palm print also may offer more granular detail to improve accuracy.
First-time users have to sign up for the service in person. A consumer uses an enrollment kiosk to record their palm print and match it with their identity, entering their credit or debit card details and mobile number.
Travel executives have been alternately fantasizing about and dreading the possible arrival of Amazon in travel booking. The company briefly attempted selling hotels online in the U.S. in the mid-2010s, and it has been offering flight reservations for sale in India since 2019.
Rather than online bookings, the tech giant has instead been focusing on hardware and software.
It has been offering the travel sector its contactless payment technology and its enterprise version of its Alexa-branded voice-activated internet devices. The company has also touted its cloud-storage service AWS (Amazon Web Services) for travel and hospitality. Google, Microsoft, and other tech companies also compete in these segments.
In March 2020, Amazon started licensing its Just Walk Out automated checkout technology it has used at its cashless bookshops and convenience stores since 2018 to airport retailers and other third-party operators, such as stadium vendors.
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OTG, which runs 300 in-terminal restaurants and stores in 10 airports, has rolled out the equipment to most of its Cibo Express stores.
In March 2021, Hudson began using the technology at Dallas Love Field Airport, with plans to roll it out at other U.S. airport locations.
“With consumers increasingly demanding greater convenience and speed, we look forward to leading the charge in introducing new innovative solutions and retail concepts,” said Jordi Martin-Consuegra, CEO of Hudson.
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Photo credit: Palm-recognition technology Amazon One is in operation at a Hudson Nonstop retail location in Dallas Love Field Airport. Source: Hudson.