Korean Air is rolling out a new biometric boarding system at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. The system operates much like other biometric boarding systems, in the sense that it will allow travelers to board their planes without showing a boarding pass. However, the Gimpo system will rely on palm vein authentication rather than facial recognition, which has been the more popular modality in other airports.
Palm-based boarding will initially be offered at five Gimpo departure gates, though Korean Air is planning to extend the program to all of the airport’s boarding gates before the end of the year. It will also bring the system to Busan’s Gimhae International Airport in August. In both cases, palm boarding will only be available on domestic routes within South Korea.
Interested passengers can register their palms at self-service Korean Air kiosks located in Gimpo’s departure area, though the service is currently restricted to Korean nationals over the age of seven. Those who meet those requirements will need to scan an ID document as part of the onboarding process, and give Korean Air permission to use their personal information.
Once that process is complete, participating passengers will no longer need to present a boarding pass before departure. They will simply need to complete a palm scan, and may not even need to interact with an airline employee.
Korean Air believes that the palm system will speed up the boarding process and minimize wait times at the airport. It will also improve security, since people will not be able to steal or duplicate their boarding passes. The project is a collaboration with the Korean Airport Corporation, which installed Fujitsu’s contactless PalmSecure palm vein scanners at 14 domestic airports back in 2019. Korean Air itself started testing the technology in August.
February 9, 2022 – by Eric Weiss