Why Digital ID Should be On the Vacation Checklist

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[ This article was originally published here ]

Vacation season is officially upon us, and after Covid-19 kept most of the world grounded for the best part of two years, airports and airlines are in for one of the busiest summers on record.  

Thankfully, there are examples of technology use cases being implemented to save time at busy airports.  

Use of Digital ID  

The concept of Digital ID is one that has grown exponentially in recent years. Whether it’s ID cards, health cards, passports or driving licenses  – we’ve long relied on various forms of physical ID to prove our identity. Just think back to the last time you flew – how many documents you needed, and the number of times you had to show them.  

So, how would this work in an airport scenario?  

Before arriving at the airport for travel, the passenger would download the relevant app from the airline they are travelling with. From there they would upload the relevant travel documents – creating a secure digitized credential that is accepted by the local country’s travel security authority. 

When passing through airport checks, the passenger would then simply open the app, and present an auto generated QR code. This process would streamline the ID verification process, allowing travelers to move through security lines faster – also easing pressure on airport staff.  

American Airlines Takes Off with Mobile ID 

Mobile ID has taken off this summer, with American Airlines announcing that they are working with Thales’ trusted mobile identification technology to eliminate the need for passengers to show physical IDs with the creation of a TSA-approved mobile digital ID app. 

The Airside Digital Identity App will create a secure and encrypted digitalised version of government-issued identification which airline passengers can then store their ID on their smartphone and present it at the required checkpoints.  

Commenting on the announcement this week, Tony Lo Brutto, Vice President, Thales Identity and Biometric Solutions North America said 

“Thales trusted mobile digital identity technology provides an immediate way for all citizens across certain states to use their physical driver’s license or U.S. passports to create a TSA-approved mobile digital credential for travel. It provides authorities such as the TSA with the opportunity to securely and conveniently verify IDs, simplifying the process to allow travelers to get through security lines faster. It has never been easier to verify identity or access services – both online and in the ‘real world’. This pilot perfectly complements our worldwide “Fly to Gate” references, highlighting Thales expertise in enabling both security and convenience to travelers with digital solutions.’ 

The Future of Air Travel  

This example of Digital ID is just one example of how leveraging state of the art technology can revolutionize the airport experience.  

Whether it’s through a combination of facial recognition, multimodal biometric checking or automation – the technology is there to make the airport operations more streamlined, efficient and secure – both for staff and travelers.  

Throughout this summer keep an eye out on the DIS blog as we continue to explore how technology can change and improve the airport experience.  

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