Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Frankfurt Airport Extends Biometric Check-In Technology to All Travelers

The new technology that allows passengers to use their faces as their boarding passes and passports

by Lauren Smith

November 15, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Fraport - Frankfurt Airport

Passengers traveling through Frankfurt Airport (FRA) can now experience a new level of convenience and efficiency thanks to the introduction of biometric technology.

By scanning their faces, travelers can quickly check into their flights and clear security, making the whole process faster and smoother. This innovative system has been implemented across all terminals at the German hub, ensuring a seamless travel experience for all passengers.

Photo: Courtesy of Fraport – Frankfurt Airport

The Smart Path biometric solution, developed by Swiss IT company SITA, has been available for passengers traveling with Lufthansa, Frankfurt Airport’s largest tenant, and its Star Alliance partners since 2020. Around 12,000 passengers have already registered to use facial recognition technology.

Frankfurt Airport, or Fraport, is “the first European airport to offer all passengers a contactless and convenient passenger journey using biometrics,” said Pierre Dominique Prümm, Executive Board member of Aviation and Infrastructure at Fraport.

“Our goal for the coming months is to equip at least 50% of all check-in kiosks, pre-security, and boarding gates with the new and pioneering technology,” he added.

To use the technology, travelers can register in advance using Star Alliance’s biometric app or at the check-in kiosk when scanning their biometrics-enabled passports. The registration process takes just seconds, the airport said.

Once registered, travelers can scan their faces to check in, clear security, and board their flights without presenting any physical documents, including passports and boarding passes.

Photo: Frankfurt Airport. Courtesy of Juho S / Unsplash

SITA’s Smart Path biometric solution leverages NEC’s I:Delight digital identity management platform, ranked as the world’s most accurate facial recognition system, capable of identifying passengers quickly and accurately, even when they’re on the move.

Staff will still be available to help passengers who are wary of biometric solutions. But David Lavorel, CEO of SITA, said three out of four passengers adopt biometric solutions when offered.

“We have seen that the more we can automate the passenger journey in the airport, the better the experience. Biometric touchpoints significantly speed up the mandatory steps in the airport, giving passengers more time to relax before the flight rather than waiting in line.”

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 2023 Global Passenger Survey found that passengers are already comfortable with airport biometric solutions, with 46% reporting they’d encountered them in the previous 12 months, up from 34% in 2022.

Photo: Courtesy of on Unsplash

Among those who’ve used biometric technologies at airports, 46% reported an 85% satisfaction rate.

Data protection with biometric solutions remains a concern for around half of travelers. However, 40% would be more receptive to the technology if they were confident their personal information was secure, up from 33% in 2022.

“Passengers want technology to work harder, so they spend less time ‘being processed’, standing in queues. And they are willing to use biometric data if it delivers this result,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security.