Advancements will remove the need to open every bag and for passengers to walk through metal detectors
Airports of the future will feature biometric tickets, virtual assistants and better luggage-tracking tech
Passengers will be given a biometric token that serves as a passport, boarding pass and ID for the journey
The miserable experience of fumbling for lost boarding passes and endless queuing at airports could finally be a thing of the past, as airports of the future will feature biometric tickets, virtual assistants and fast molecular security scanners.
Designs for how airports could look in 25 years have been revealed – and they’re not pie-in-the-sky because they include technology that is already being trialled and developed.
The research shows how check-in – a major source of queues and frustration for travellers – will become an automated doddle by 2040.
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As well as online check-ins becoming far more common, passengers will be given a biometric token that will serve as their passport, boarding pass and ID for the journey, without having to keep hold of their separate documents, according to airport parking operator and retailer Airport Parking and Hotels (APH), who created the vision.
In order to be issued with this token, each traveller will be scanned for biometric identifiers unique to them, such as iris patterns.
The technology is already proving to be a faster alternative to manual passport checking following tests at Heathrow and Schiphol airports.
Similarly, with the threat of terrorism ever present, security checkpoints are currently another major bottleneck at airports.
However, technological advancements will remove the need to open every bag and for passengers to walk through metal detectors.
Instead, laser molecular body scanners, originally designed for medical use, will be used to screen for banned materials or liquids hidden in clothing or luggage. Effective from several metres away, these will allow people to simply walk past a scanner, rather than wait in another queue.
On arrival, the seemingly endless wait at the baggage carousel will also be a thing of the past, as chips embedded in either the cases themselves or the tags will not only track each item’s destination and location, but will send smartphone notifications when they’re ready to be collected.
This means that passengers will instead be able to spend their time browsing the airport’s touchscreen shopping walls, or asking for travel information from one of the many virtual assistants.
Using a more advanced version of the technology in today’s chatbots, these will provide customer service and advice, while being able to talk fluently in a variety of languages.
Beverley Barden, head of marketing at APH, said: ‘Airports are all too often a trying experience and one of the worst aspects of jetting off on holiday.
‘What the future of airports project shows is that, in a few years, technological advances will enable airports to create a much more pleasant experience and work around the issues that they currently face.
‘Through this research and the models we have created, we are able to predict what the airport experience could realistically be like in the near future, and it’s going to be very exciting to see it take shape.’
Ryan Ghee, Editor of Future Travel Experience, said: ‘Various industry forecasts point to a sharp increase in the number of air travellers in the coming years and in many cases these travellers will have access to a far more seamless and intuitive travel experience. At Aruba Airport the “Happy Flow” project has made use of facial recognition technology to remove the need for passengers to present their boarding pass and passport at multiple stages of the journey.
‘Many airports feel like shopping malls today but the more forward-thinking are going a step further and looking at how they can ensure everything – from the architecture and the food and beverage offerings, to the ambience of the terminal and the activities on offer – reflects the destination itself.’
This article first appeared in www.dailymail.co.uk
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