The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on travel. The risk of human-to-human virus transmission has never been so much in the spotlight, and the travel industry is having to adapt quickly to a new world of airport health screenings and contact-free security. We take a closer look at the new travel technologies shaping the way we travel.
The development of touchscreen technology has infiltrated the travel industry in the past decade, with touchscreen check-in gradually replacing staffed desks and touchscreen TVs on the back of each long-haul seat. But without sanitising screens after every use, they can be a hotbed for virus transmission.
Enter the era of ‘touchless’ tech, which uses biometrics to verify bookings and identity. That could mean increased mobile boarding passes and a transition towards iris scans and AI facial recognition, and away from scanning passports and IDs. Facial recognition boarding practises are already being implemented by Delta Air Lines and are being tested by United Airlines. Biometrics testing is underway at airports in Canada, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Spain, too – and only looks set to increase.
Permanently skipping airport security queues. Sounds like a dream come true, right? But social distancing is near-impossible when the process requires passengers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and share plastic trays for their bags and shoes – calling for an end to long lines and the advent of smart queuing technology.
“In order to stop over-crowding, airport queues will become by appointment only. We may move to a reservation-only society, with people who used to make last-minute plans being forced to adapt.”Dave Thomson, Head of Product and Design at Skyscanner
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport has begun asking passengers to book their own security screenings, eliminating the need for a queue. But it could go a step further. Luggage screening of the future could be done by different kinds of computer vision systems, eventually removing the need for a centralised security screen. Watch this space.
Airline marketing strategy firm Simplifying predicts a future of ‘sanitised travel’. Luggage will have to be spray-disinfected and then ‘sanitagged’ on the check-in belt before being put on the plane. Hand luggage will be quickly sanitised via UV rays or fogging while in the X-ray security machine…
To read the full article, view the original post on post-COVID travel tech on the Skyscanner website.