ID Scanning and Smart Airports

airplane on the tarmac at a small airport

Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 03:10 pm

From checking bags to boarding the plane, tech-driven id scanning solutions are transforming the airline industry. But in the rush to create frictionless travel experiences, are some airlines missing the goalpost? 

Smart Airports

Airports today are in a race to provide a seamless, touch-free passenger experience.  Some airports are already employing end-to-end identity verification solutions that simplify the juggernauts surrounding luggage checking, security checks, and boarding the airplane. In Spain, two airports, Valencia (VLC) and Bilbao (BIO), have installed more than 45 automatic border control gates that use facial recognition and automatic document verification.  Los Angeles (LAX) announced in January that 100% of their security checkpoints are using touchless ID scanners. The Dubai airport features Smart Gates, which customers can pass through by simply looking at a green light.

Baggage Check Headaches

Spirit Airlines has entered the smart airport fray and is now using airline ID scanning technology to check luggage. The process is simple. Passengers must opt-in to the automated system. They will be asked to scan a photo ID, and the hardware then uses facial recognition to match the passenger to the ID and that person’s flight reservation. Once the match is successful, the passenger can drop their bags off.

The airline currently processes approximately 2,700 bags a day at busy airports such as LAX, so it’s critical that their identity verification software is up to the task. But experiences at the airline kiosks prove otherwise, with smart kiosks failing to scan IDs effectively, requiring airport personnel to swipe their badges to complete the process. 

Why aren’t the ID scanners working? Because there’s more than one way to scan an ID, and choosing the optimal method is paramount. 

Airline ID scanning

OCR vs 2D Barcode Scanning

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that converts an image of text into a machine readable text format. But it has limitations, and was not intended to extract data from a document with small fields and dark type against security features, such as holograms, watermarks, and microprint.  Additionally, it was originally intended to be used with a flatbed scanner. While OCR can extract data from a driver’s license or passport, it isn’t optimal. In the best conditions, OCR accuracy levels are within 79% to 89%. For these reasons, the best identity verification solutions don’t rely on OCR alone.

A 2D barcode, on the other hand, uses symbologies–patterns, shapes, and dots–to encrypt information. Symbologies are very useful for important documents, such as driver’s licenses, passports, and boarding passes. Having all of the information in a symbology allows for an extra security measure to ensure that the information on a document is the same as in the data format. They can store up to 4,000 characters or 7,000 digits. 

The symbol systems in a 2D barcode can be read with a camera and a scanner. 2D barcode scanning software has a 99% accuracy and scanning rate.  

By using OCR software rather than 2D barcode scanning software, Spirit Airlines has derailed their efforts to eliminate a traveler touchpoint. 

Denis Petrov, CEO of IDScan.net, a leading developer of AI powered identity verification technology,  observed, “The design of the dataflow of the Self Bag Drop kiosk is clearly flawed, because it requires that customers scan the FRONT of the ID versus the BACK of the ID, which is the most reliable way of capturing and verifying customer information via PDF417 2D barcode.”

The ID Scanning Software Solution

IDScan.net has pioneered dependable and innovative technology that scans both sides of an ID then compares it with the person in front of the kiosk, verifying not just their identity but also other factors, such as age,” Petrov says, “As an extra layer of validation, the technology can also perform third-party checks.”  Third-party checks validate details about an individual using services such as DMV data verification, IdentiFraud, criminal background checks and even watch lists.  

IDScan.net has created customized ID scanner solutions for more than 6,500 of the world’s most trusted brands across all industries. 

For more information on solutions utilizing 2D barcode scanning, contact us.