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.
A month ago, Austrian filed plans to begin service between Vienna and Los Angeles, but provided few details. That has now been addressed with a news release from VIE earlier today.
Beginning April 10, OS will start flying between Vienna and Los Angeles 6 times a week using their 777 aircraft. Initially the route will be seasonal, operating only with the summer timetable. Flights will not take place on Sundays.
Flight OS81 will depart Vienna at 10a, arriving in Los Angeles at 1:30p (Same day).
Flight OS82 will depart Los Angeles at 3:05p, arriving in Vienna at 12:00p the following afternoon.
Reservations are now open for this flight, with fares starting as low as $800.