Are Boarding Passes becoming redundant?

There have been cases where passengers have managed to board aircraft without proper boarding passes or by using fake boarding passes. In 2020, a passenger boarded an aircraft by blending in with another family and pre-boarding the plane by walking alongside a person in a wheelchair. In doing so, they evaded security screening. More recently, this year, two similar incidents occurred: one involved no boarding pass, and the other involved a person who used another passenger’s details to obtain a boarding pass. When the genuine boarding pass holder went to scan the boarding pass, it showed he was already on board. In one case, there was a chance that the person may have gone undetected had the seat not been already taken.

Trending airport security device

The future of boarding passes is already evolving as technology in airport security continues to advance.

Mobile boarding passes have already become widely adopted, allowing passengers to use their smartphones or other mobile devices to display their boarding information and scan at the gates. This trend will likely continue, with more airlines and airports offering mobile boarding passes as a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to paper tickets.

Biometric technology, such as facial recognition, is increasingly used for airport identity verification. This technology is already replacing traditional boarding passes and document verification altogether, enabling passengers to board flights seamlessly using their biometric data, substantiated with the document on file and matched to the passenger manifest. This results in a seamless and automated boarding process.

While mainly implemented by individual airlines, the facial recognition system, as part of the airport security equipment, is currently used in select airports in at least ten countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, USA, India, Malaysia, Japan, Germany and France.

While these potential developments show promising trends, their implementation and adoption depend on various factors, including regional regulatory requirements, technological advancements, and passenger preferences bearing in mind that not all passengers have smartphone devices.