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Star Alliance, NEC, and SITA Pave Way For Touchless Journeys With Biometric ID
07/30/21

Star Alliance, NEC, and SITA Pave Way For Touchless Journeys With Biometric ID

To provide its frequent flyer loyalty customers with a faster, more seamless travel experience, Star Alliance is rolling out a new biometric identity platform across participating airlines and airports in partnership with SITA and NEC to remove friction points from the customer journey.

Using facial biometrics as their boarding pass, passengers who are Frequent Flyer members of StarAlliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, will soon be able to complete touchless check-in and travel processes in airports around the world. Based on NEC’s I:Delight touchless touchpoint technology, Star Alliance’s new comprehensive biometrics platform will integrate with SITA’s Smart Path whole-journey identity management system, currently in use by over 460 airports around the world, giving Star Alliance loyalty customers an easier, more hygienic, and seamlessly touchless travel experience. 

The three-way partnership hopes to take advantage of pre-existing partner infrastructure to increase the prevalence of biometric self-service touchpoints in airports everywhere, saving on-the-go and time-strapped consumers from the inconvenience of waiting in long lines or stopping to pull out tickets. Star Alliance, SITA, and NEC are far from alone in this goal — Milano Linate Airport, operated by SEA Group, recently announced a nearly $50 million terminal upgrade and expansion project that includes biometric boarding, enhanced security screening, self-bag drop, and other advances powered by new touchless touchpoint technology. Los Angeles International Airport has also opened touchless self-service check-in kiosks from Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions as part of their Terminal 1 extension. While the new LAX kiosks are currently used just by Frontier Airlines customers; the Los Angeles airport authority is in discussions with other airlines to expand their use. 

An advantage of the Star Alliance Biometric platform is that members only have to enroll once. After opting in to the service, member-travelers will be able to pass through biometrically enabled touchpoints across all participating partner airlines and airports. This convenient capability is due to the wide adoption of SITA’s Smart Path solution, and the ability of NEC’s I:Delight platform to easily identify passengers both quickly and with a high degree of accuracy, even when travelers are wearing a mask–an important capability as the travel industry continues to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. By speeding up the passage through the airport and making each step touchless in order to support important health and hygiene safety measures, the partnership with SITA and NEC will deliver on Star Alliance’s goal of an increasingly seamless and digitized customer experience. 

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For a deeper dive into this topic, check out PSFK’s latest report which describes seven trends with supporting examples of innovation, stats and quotes. In it, the PSFK team showcases how grocers are doubling down on their store experience through enhanced merchandising, sustainability and convenience.