Lufthansa today announced the results of a pilot program undertaken in Los Angeles that allows passengers to board flights without the use of a passport or boarding pass at the gate.
In association with Customs and Border Control (CBP), Amadeus, and other partners Lufthansa set up self-boarding gates in LAX that allowed for biometric facial recognition technology to determine if a passenger is authorized to board a flight.
According to LH, when a passenger approaches the self boarding gate, a camera takes a photo of a passengers face and is immediately compared against a US CBP database. Within seconds, the information is relayed back to the gate and if everything is in good order, the gate opens and allows the passenger to board the aircraft.
With this technology in place, it would eliminate the need for a boarding pass or passport to be used at a gate.
In fact, Lufthansa was able to successfully board 350 passengers aboard an A380 in 20 minutes, marking a significant improvement over the normal time it takes to board the aircraft.
With the success of this pilot, Lufthansa will now consider expanding this concept to other USA gateways in an effort to modernize the passenger experience at the airport and at the same time enhance air travel security. No timeline has yet to be determined by LH as of this writing.
In 4 weeks (on March 25, 2018), Lufthansa will finally begin deploying their A380s in Munich with flights to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Beijing. Though that is not ‘new’ news, LH did provide an update today regarding the logistics at the airport when it comes to gates and security screening. Considering the A380 can carry twice the amount of passengers as the typical long-haul planes LH currently uses in MUC, it was obvious that certain things needed to change at security screening and the gates that LH will use for the A380.
According to Lufthansa, the A380 will use gates H47 and H48 located inside Terminal 2, and gates L11 and L13 that are located in the new Satellite terminal. In addition, gates L24/26 and L28/30 are retrofitted with a 3rd passenger bridge that will give passengers direct access to the upper deck.
Munich Airport and Lufthansa have also adjusted the security screening process to make it a bit easier to get through security and to the gate as a result of having substantially more passengers boarding the A380 as compared to other aircraft that usually use Terminal 2 and the Satellite Terminal.
Current plans call for LH to utilize 5 A380 aircraft in Munich to cover these initial routes.
Lufthansa has updated their timetable to reflect the deployment of the A380 to additional destinations from Munich beginning with the Winter 2018/19 timetable.
With their latest update, they’ve added Miami, Shanghai, and San Francisco to the list. These destinations will begin seeing the A380 fly from Munich on October 28, 2018.
Earlier this summer, LH announced that the A380 would begin flying from Munich to Los Angeles, Beijing, and Hong Kong beginning with the Spring/Summer 2018 timetable.
A major reason for this transition is due to the fact that Lufthansa continues to retire their A340 fleet, which is primarily based in Munich. With this vacuum in capacity, the A380 was the viable option to take the A340’s place.
For those of you who are members of Miles & More (MM) and are scheduled to fly in Economy class aboard an A380 between now and January 31, you’ll want to pay attention!
Since October 29, and running through January 31, ‘MM’ members can register for a special Airbus/Lufthansa promo that will give you twice the award miles that you normally would earn on your ticket. The promo states that you’ll earn miles based on your crediting rate for your fare class. The multiplier does not apply to your ‘Executive bonus’ that you earn if you are a Frequent Traveler, Senator, or HON Circle member. You’ll still get your Executive Bonus but those miles do not get the 2x multiplier that this promo offers.
It’s a good deal considering that if you’re flying aboard an A380 you’re flying a fairly long way so the miles credit will be substantial! As of now, LH sends the A380 from Frankfurt to Bangkok, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Delhi, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Singapore.
The deal applies to bookings made by December 31, 2017. You must register in order to qualify and it covers flights taken through January 31. The promo limits your participation to 8 A380 segments during the bonus period.
Simply visit the LH Promo webpage for the deal to enroll. You’ll be asked to log into your MM account so have that info ready.
I’m not sure if the credit will apply if you have already flown aboard an A380 since October 29 and haven’t registered for this, but you should still register since miles won’t be credited until 8 weeks after you complete your flight. You might catch a break and get the miles for flights you’ve already taken.
Tonight’s flight from Houston to Frankfurt made an emergency landing at JFK in New York after the flight crew received word that a bomb threat was issued to the airline. The A380 had approximately 500 passengers and crew that exited the aircraft without incident.
The aircraft is still at JFK as of this post while Police and Security officials search the plane to confirm that no explosives are on board. It’s expected that the plane will continue on to Frankfurt later this evening.
Here is the flight path of LH441 as it approached the northeast. You’ll see the plane began its emergency decent while over New Jersey and made its turn back to JFK after dumping enough fuel and losing enough altitude while over Long Island, NY:
D-AIMK diverted to JFK after Lufthansa received a bomb threat