How Biometrics Are Enabling Advanced Self-Service



How biometric technologies can facilitate advanced self-service for air passengers.


A Pressing Need for Simplicity

In the wake of COVID-19, the entire industry is having to fit its mind around the demands of a new reality -- one in which public concerns over safety and sanitisation are forcing a decreased emphasis on manual controls and physical processes. It’s also an atmosphere in which businesses and the people they serve are coming to appreciate the value and convenience of simplified technology-based alternatives to mechanisms and processes that were previously tactile or manual.

Consumers in all sectors of the digital economy are growing accustomed to the convenience and autonomy of self-service options. The aviation industry is ripe for such alternatives -- and biometric technology is the key enabler of this transition.

Simplification Through Self-Service

Properly implemented, self-service enables passengers to book and pay for their flights and check-in their baggage before arriving at the airport, either on online portals or mobile apps. Those same avenues can provide access to tools that enable passengers to use their faces as ID and go through all points of identification without using any paper or physical documents.

How Biometrics Fits into The Picture

Biometric Identity Management Platforms provide airports with a safe alternative to direct physical contact. This occurs by leveraging touchless biometrics and contactless passage through security, border control and boarding. Passengers can enroll their travel documents and facial images at airport check-in, or remotely using digital mobile ID apps.

At the initial point of biometric capture, a secure digital travel ID record or token is created, which becomes the passenger’s “Permit to Enter” when scanned in real-time at subsequent check-in, boarding, and exit points.

Subsequent touchpoints at the airport will then automatically recognise and authenticate the passenger’s identity in a few seconds, thus eliminating the need to physically interact with potentially infected surfaces, or the need to exchange paper documents with an agent or officer.

This mechanism becomes particularly important as a safeguard at hot spots throughout the passenger journey that present a higher risk of infection or transmission. It also leads to a scenario where travellers are more willing to share further data with the airport. People are more likely to purchase goods and services while feeling safe, and by using their own mobile devices to do so. This makes data monetisation an opportunity for the stakeholder, by leveraging the data shared to provide a better and more personalised experience for the customer. In this sense, it’s crucial to ensure that any system centred on biometric and biographic capture is part of a trusted framework based on Privacy by Design. This guarantees that data protection is at the service’s core and that any data shared is held upon the travellers’ consent.


Seamless identity management using advanced contactless biometrics establishes identical clearance procedures throughout the passenger journey that eliminate time-consuming identification tasks. This facilitates faster clearance for both inbound and outbound passengers.


Publish date: November 2021

About the author

Inês Pascoal

Inês Pascoal

Brand & Content Manager @ Vision-Box