CORONAVIRUS/Taiwanese airlines introduce touchless boarding amid COVID-19

12/01/2020 07:11 PM
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Photo courtesy of EVA Airways
Photo courtesy of EVA Airways

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) Taiwan's two major airlines said Tuesday they have geared up for services that can better address the COVID-19 threat due to overcrowding at airports, mainly the facial recognition system that enables touchless boarding.

EVA Airways said it started the service on Tuesday, first with flights from San Francisco to Taiwan, as part of the U.S. Biometric Exit Program, which collects biometric information from travelers.

Under the program, passengers have the option of having their facial images taken at the boarding gates, which much match their boarding pass information and biometric profile stored at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

This means that such passengers no longer need to scan their boarding passes at the gates, hence speeding up boarding process and reducing the risk of disease transmission through physical contact, the carrier said.

However, infants and passengers who need special assistance will still have to board in the traditional manner, it said.

EVA Air said it will expand the service to seating, checked-in luggage, security checks and use of VIP lounges in the future, making air travel safer and more convenient amid the pandemic.

China Airlines (CAL) also said it has pushed for the same system since July with flights departing from New York and since September with flights from San Francisco.

However, those practices currently remain coupled with manual checks by airline staff, the carrier said, adding that they will be upgraded further and introduced in airports such as Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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