UAE carrier Emirates has upgraded its self-check-in facilities to become fully touchless. The change comes as the airline looks to improve its contactless journey through Dubai International Airport as the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s no doubt about it. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the face of the aviation industry. Across the world, wearing masks in airports and flights has gone from being an occasional personal choice to being mandated for every passenger. Airlines and Airports have also been working together to try and remove contact points between passengers and employees.
Emirates has been working to reduce contact points between passengers and staff at Dubai International Airport. As the COVID-19 virus is transmitted by touch and person to person contact, the airline has been working to reduce in-person interactions and the need for many people to touch the same surfaces. This is behind the airline’s latest check-in upgrade.
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Self-check-in machines at Dubai International Airport are now touchless. Passengers using the 16 check-in kiosks can control the apparatus using a mobile device to scan a QR code displayed. The passenger can then check-in, receive their boarding pass, choose seats, and drop their bag without touching the screen.
The bag tags will be printed off by the machine and can be taken and attached to the bags before sending them on their way. Passengers may still be prompted to scan their passport on the device. However, with careful finger placement, touching the machine itself can still be avoided.
Given travel requirements, passengers traveling to the United States, Canada, China, India, and Hong Kong cannot use the contactless machines. They must use a desk with a check-in agent. The airline is looking to place more kiosks in other areas for first and business class passengers at its home in Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport.
These latest enhancements to the check-in experience come as part of Emirates’ shift to introduce a smart contactless journey through the airport at Dubai International. Biometric facial recognition is playing a vital role in this experience.
Currently, passengers can clear immigration, enter the Emirates lounges, and board some flights purely with their face. The airline is actively investigating more points where it can implement facial recognition to reduce contact points during the passenger journey. At immigration, the airline is trialing a ‘smart tunnel’ where authorities can clear passengers by merely walking through.
Emirates has been interested in simplifying the passenger experience with biometric facial recognition for quite some time. Indeed, it was the first airline outside of the United States to receive approval for biometric boarding from Customs and Border Protection.
Of course, if passengers still wish to undergo manual checks at each stage, this remains an option.
What do you make of Emirates’ new contactless check-in experience? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!