If you have flown at all in the last few years, you know that getting to the airport is just the start of the hassles that accompany flying. Whether you use a charter bus rental or are used to rent a town car to get to the airport or driven and relied on other airport transportation, now you have to fight your way through it to get to your flight. Now, newer technologies are making that process easier, reports the New York Times.andnbsp;
Today, frequent fliers are finding getting through the airport and even customs can be a lot easier and quicker than it has been in a long time. New kiosks make people traveling internationally have an easier time of things when they use technology like that offered by Global Entry. The number of people who use these kiosks jumped by 50% in 2017 alone.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) changed the way it screens people who are traveling with its PreCheck program. They expanded access to it to include the airlines KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Air France, World Atlantic and Philippine Airlines. That means the number of airlines with access to this system has risen to 50. It can be used at 200 airports.
Meanwhile, the program that allows members to scan both their passports and fingerprints at kiosks operated by the Global Entry program, lets people avoid waiting in long lines for immigration and customs. They are adding more and more airports to the program all of the time. This may not help with airport transportation but it helps move people through the airport easier and faster all the same.
Now biometrics are being used in more instances. The Customs and Border Control Agencies use both facial recognition software and fingerprint biometrics. These systems are currently being used at eight international airports in the United States and more are slated to get the systems.
This is being used for more than just border security and customs. Some airports are letting passengers use it instead of boarding passed to get on flights at Washington’s Reagan National. Kennedy, Hartsfield-Jackson, and Boston Logan airports let passengers use facial recognition software to board planes.
The Global Entry program is the most effective at saving people time when it comes to airport transportation. The drawback is there is a fee people have to pay and there are background checks that are required. Despite these drawbacks, it is becoming more and more popular as it allows people to get through immigration and customs a lot faster.
There are some barriers to joining the Global Entry Program. There is an application fee (currently that is about $100), there is an online form people need to fill out giving all of their travel histories, people need to be fingerprinted, and lastly, they have to be interviewed in person by an official with the U.S. Customs Department. After this is complete, their membership will be valid for five years. During that time, rather than go through the customs line, people can just scan their passport and fingerprint at a kiosk.
There is also an app to help people get through customs and immigration. Mobile Passport can be used on an Android or iOS system and is not as fast as the Global Entry program but it is free and does not subject people to the background check or interview. This has been made available at 25 airports. Travelers create a profile with the information from their passport information and the same information for all of the people traveling with them. Participating airports have special lines for people using the Mobile Passport app that are quicker to get through. Once the app is opened, the traveler is asked to provide answers to five questions about their trip. This prompts the app to send a barcode, which is then used by the Customs and Border Control Agency.
These may be the two apps to help people deal with airport transportation now but it is clear that not only will they both expand but more apps and systems will be developed to help beleaguered travelers get through customs more quickly and more easily while maintaining airport security.