Alaska Airlines is testing fingerprint ticketing technology

13 Oct 2014

Alaska Airlines (ALK) is currently testing new technology that would replace traditional tickets and other documentation with a passenger’s fingerprints.

Bloomberg reports that the airline – which despite its name is based in Seattle – began testing ‘E-Thumb’ technology in August, allowing passengers to enter a frequent fliers lounge at its Seattle hub by just using their prints. Encouraged by the tests, fingerprint readers have since been installed in all four of the airline’s ‘Board Room’ bars.

Should ALK replace boarding passes with thumbprint technology, it will become the first US airlines to do so. The company has noted the speed in which queues can be moved along as a benefit of the system.

“Air travel is about moving quickly and yet airports are one of the places where travelers seem to move the slowest,” Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group, told Bloomberg.

Before it could be introduced, the technology would have to be approved by the USA’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This would mean rigorous testing in a closed, off-airport environment.

“TSA is always looking for new technology and procedures that will enhance security and increase efficiency,” said the organisation’s press secretary Ross Feinstein.

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic