Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: Frankfurt Airport Expands Biometric Systems for a Contactless Experience

7 months ago

Frankfurt Airport is set to expand its suite of biometric touchpoints to passengers of all airlines within the facility.

A female using a biometric system at an airport.
Credit: Fraport

The technology – SITA’s Smart Path biometric solution, powered by NEC – is already available for Lufthansa and Star Alliance Airlines passengers, which has seen over 12,000 passengers use the facilities at check-in, boarding pass control and boarding gates, according to a release from Fraport.

The technology gives passengers the opportunity to use their faces as their boarding pass by registering in advance on their mobile device through the app or directly at the check-in kiosk with their biometrics-enabled passports. 

When their registration is complete, passengers will be able to pass through the facial recognition-equipped checkpoints without showing any physical documents. 

“Together with Lufthansa and the Star Alliance airlines, we have been offering this innovative service since 2020, an experience – with the help of SITA and NEC – which will now be extended to all airlines. We are the first European airport to offer all passengers a contactless and convenient passenger journey using biometrics. Our goal for the coming months is to equip at least 50 percent of all check-in kiosks, pre-security and boarding gates  with the new and pioneering technology,” said Dr. Pierre Dominique Prümm, Fraport AG’s executive director aviation and infrastructure.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: Heathrow Trials Pre-Booked Security Slots

8 months ago

Heathrow has announced that it is trialing an initiative that allows passengers travelling through the airport to pre-book their security slots ahead of their journeys.

Credit: Heathrow

It is hoped that the service, known as ‘Heathrow Timeslot‘, will offer travellers more peace of mind when moving through the airport as well as helping to reduce queue times.

Currently live in Terminal 3, the trial is set to run for the next six months and will be open to passengers travelling with American Airlines, Delta, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.

“Everyone is familiar with airport security, but at Heathrow we’re constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost the safety and streamline the experience for our passengers. This new trial will give passengers that extra added bit of certainty and reassurance ahead of their journey and we think it will be particularly popular for those with families or nervous travellers who may want a bit more confidence in their journeys. We look forward to seeing the data come in to give us some learnings on how we can roll this out more widely across Heathrow,” said Mark Powell, operational planning director at Heathrow.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: Finland Set to Trial World First Digital Travel Document

9 months ago

The Finnish Border Guard will allow passengers on selected Finnair flights to and from the UK to pass through border control at Helsinki Airport using new Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) from 28 August 2023.

Credit: Finnish Border Guard

The pilot project forms part of a reported world first pilot program, which has been launched in cooperation with Finnair, the Finnish Police and Finavia.

DTC is a digital version of a physical passport, and according to a release from the Finnish Border Guard, is ‘equally reliable and will allow smooth and fast border crossings without compromising security.’

Passengers flying with Finnair on the London, Manchester and Edinburgh routes will now be able to pass through border control by registering as a voluntary DTC user and use it at border control when leaving and/or arriving in Finland.

The European Commission is developing the DTC as part of a larger digital identity policy package, with the European Union committing €2.3 million to co-fund the project.

The pilot will run at Helsinki Airport from Monday 28 August 2023 until the end of February 2024.

You can register as a DTC user at the police service points in Tikkurila or at Helsinki Airport by following the instructions on the Finnish Border Guard’s website.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

Norman Mineta, Transportation Secretary on 9/11, Dies at 90

2 years ago

Norman Y. Mineta, the Transportation Secretary who closed the U.S. airspace and ordered the grounding of 4,000 planes in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, has died. He was 90 years old.

Mineta died at his home in Edgewater, Md., of a heart ailment, John Flaherty, his former chief of staff, said.

Mineta, a first-generation Japanese American, began his public career in local politics in California. In 1971, he became the first Asian American elected to represent a major American city, San Jose, his native city and the second-largest in California. In 1974, he began a 10-term congressional career, representing Silicon Valley.

During his time in Congress, Mineta was instrumental in getting the U.S. government to apologize and award reparations to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. This was personal for Mineta: When he was 10 years old, he and his family were sent from California to an internment camp in Wyoming. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Americans of Japanese descent interned in February 1942, two months after the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbor.

After his tenure in Congress and a subsequent stint in the private sector, Mineta served briefly as Commerce Secretary in the Clinton administration, the first Asian American to serve in that role. President George W. Bush tapped him to be Transportation Secretary, the sole Democrat in Bush’s cabinet.

Mineta acted decisively after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He and then-FAA Administrator Jane Garvey took the unprecedented step of closing the U.S. airspace, forcing the grounding of more than 4,000 aircraft, and requiring planes in the air to land immediately, at the closest airport. The airspace remained closed for more than two days, a period which has not been repeated since.

Mineta led the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and oversaw the security protocols that endure to this day. A civil rights activist, Mineta famously opposed racial profiling by the new TSA in its security checks at airports. The TSA was created by an act of Congress in November 2001 and eventually was folded into the new Homeland Security Department.

In 2001, his hometown renamed its airport the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in recognition of his service to the city.

Norman Mineta was born on Nov. 12, 1931, in San Jose. After the war, he returned to California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1953. He is survived by his wife Danealia, four sons, and 11 grandchildren.