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Blink and fly

Eye-scanning system could reduce airport lines, hassles

July 24, 2000
Web posted at: 4:52 p.m. EDT (2052 GMT)

(CNN) -- Travelers soon may be scurrying through airport ticketing lines in the blink of an eye.

EyeTicket Corp. is talking to several airlines and airports about adopting an eye-scanning system that it says could dramatically speed up the check-in process.

"It will instantly check you in without you reaching for a wallet or having a ticket or standing in line," said Evan Smith, senior vice president for EyeTicket, based in McLean, Virginia. "Just look in the camera and go."

By scanning the eye with an ordinary digital camera, the system comes up with a 512-character code based on the characteristics of the iris.

That code then can be stored in a database with other information, such as passwords and frequent-flier and passport numbers, which participating airlines could share.

  HOW DOES IT WORK?
Click for an explainer of the iris-recognition technology
 
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EyeTicket, which says the system would be voluntary and free for travelers, had representatives Monday at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport to show off the program and gauge public interest. By the looks of it, people at the North Carolina airport liked what they saw.

"I think it's long overdue," one traveler said. "I think check-in time is horrendous at most of the airports. And I travel four times a week, so anything that will expedite my flying is a positive sign."

Smith said EyeTicket -- which already has installed an iris-scanning security system in Charlotte for U.S. Airways staff -- hopes to have a program in place for passengers by the end of the year. Exactly where remains to be seen.

"We're talking to a number of carriers and there's certainly a great deal of interest from the airline industry in simplifying passenger travel," he said. "It's really just a matter of picking where the first one is going to be."

CNN.com Writer Thurston Hatcher and CNN Correspondent Rick Lockridge contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Iris scans take off at airports
July 19, 2000
Biometrics points to greater security
July 22, 1999

RELATED SITES:
EyeTicket Corporation
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport
U.S. Airways
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