Airlines Look at Fingerprint Scans to Screen Flyers

Security experts have long predicted that airlines in the future will rely on biometrics, fingerprints or retina scans, to verify the identity of air travelers. In August, Alaska Airlines started to use fingerprint scans to screen fliers at the airline’s four airport lounges, including one at Los Angeles International Airport. After further testing, Alaska officials say they may expand the fingerprint screening to the ticket gate to identify passengers before they board planes. Alaska passenger surveys show that travelers like using fingerprints to get access to the lounges. Expanding the fingerprint screening to gates and ticket counters may be more complicated because it will involve coordinating with the Transportation Security Administration. Alaska Airline travelers who want to use the fingerprint scanners must first register their prints at the lounges. The program began with the lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in August and was expanded to the lounges at LAX, Portland (Oregon) International and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in September.