Air France Tests New Boarding System

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Starting on Tuesday, March 17 and up to the end of 2009, Air France will be asking those Flying Blue customers who travel most frequently from Paris to Amsterdam to test the new automated boarding system it calls “smartboarding.”

This new system is believed to be a world first. With a personal card which contains the latest biometric technology (encrypted fingerprints), RFID (radio frequency identification) and thermal printing (the back of the card can be reused up to 500 times), these passengers will be able to board through a dedicated portal whenever they choose.

Developed together with Citizengate, the smartboarding service has 4 stages:

1. In a special office at the airport (Paris-Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2F), customers can obtain their personal smartboarding card in just a few minutes which is immediately operational. During registration, all the customer’s identity information (surname, first name, Flying Blue membership number), as well as their encrypted fingerprints are transmitted to the smart card. This registration stage is only carried out once and no files are kept by Air France, the company says.

2. On the day of departure, after having checked in by whichever means they have chosen (self-service kiosks, Internet, mobile phone, check-in counter), customers insert their card into the smartboarding kiosk which comes out with their boarding pass printed on the back.

3. As soon as boarding starts, passengers choose the precise time they wish to board through a dedicated portal situated near the jetway. This equipment checks that the passenger is alone and then reads the information on the smartboarding card and compares it with the passenger’s fingerprints. If these tests, which are the equivalent of the usual checks carried out to match a boarding card (paper or mobile phone) to a passport are positive, the gate opens to allow the passenger to board the aircraft.

4. At the door of the aircraft, passengers show the back of their card to the crew, in the same way as a normal boarding pass.

Information, videos and photos at http://corporate.airfrance.com

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