Most U.S. air travelers have boarded flights with improper ID, ready to embrace biometrics

Three out of five Americans who have ever been to an airport have passed through security and boarded an airplane without the proper identification, and more than half (51 percent) using a form of ID without a picture, according to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Acuant.

While the Transportation Security Administration provides alternative screening methods for travelers who have forgotten their identification, these methods may be slower.

The research shows that Americans are ready to embrace biometrics for travel, with 84 percent saying biometrics will improve traveler experiences, and 59 percent saying biometrics will improve safety by improving identification accuracy. Improved speed and efficiency are seen as benefits of biometrics by 56 percent.

Government-issued non-photo ID, such as a Social Security Card, is the most common form of unsanctioned ID used to board flights, having been used by 27 percent of the 60 percent who have done so. Credit cards were used by 23 percent, a photo of an ID on a phone has been used by 18 percent, and a public document such as a marriage license has been used by 13 percent.

“Americans are busier than ever and clearly ready for new solutions to address the long lines and often tedious airport boarding experience,” said Yossi Zekri, President and CEO of Acuant. “Airports around the world are adopting biometrics, such as facial recognition tied to a valid government issued document, secure ID tokens and other technologies to improve the travel experience while increasing safety. It is time for U.S. airports to evolve into the 21stcentury and make flying frictionless, fast and fun again.”

Juts under half of those surveyed (46 percent) say they would be comfortable using ePassports with biometric information, while 45 percent would be comfortable using a smartphone-based digital ID, and 43 percent would be comfortable with retina scans. Millennials are more likely than Generation X or Baby Boom travelers to use an alternative form of ID, and are more comfortable than those in older generations with biometric technology in airports, by 85 percent to 76 and 74 percent, respectively.

Airport biometrics are expected to generate $1.3 billion in revenue in the next five years, largely in eGates and kiosks, according to a recent report from Acuity Market Research.

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