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Air France tests smartboarding®, the automated boarding process

March 20, 2009, France  - From March 17,  up to the end of 2009, Air France will be asking those Flying Blue customers who travel most frequently from Paris to Amsterdam to test the new automated boarding system, smartboarding®.


March 20, 2009
By Carey Fredericks

March 20, 2009, France  – From March 17,  up to the end of 2009, Air France will be
asking those Flying Blue customers who travel most frequently from
Paris to Amsterdam to test the new automated boarding system,
smartboarding®.

This new system is a world first. With a personal card which
contains the latest biometric technology (encrypted fingerprints), RFID
(radio frequency identification) and thermal printing (the back of the
card can be reused up to 500 times), these passengers will be able to
board through a dedicated portal whenever they choose.

Developed together with Citizengate, the smartboarding® service has 4 stages:

1. In a special office at the airport (Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 2F), customers can obtain their personal smartboarding® card
in just a few minutes which is immediately operational. During
registration, all the customer’s identity information (surname, first
name, Flying Blue membership number), as well as their encrypted
fingerprints is transmitted to the smart card. This registration stage
is only carried out once and no files are kept by
Air France.

2. On the day of departure, after having checked in by whichever
means they have chosen (self-service kiosks, Internet, mobile phone,
check-in counter), customers insert their card into the smartboarding®
kiosk which comes out with their boarding pass printed on the back.

3. As soon as boarding starts, passengers choose the precise time
they wish to board through a dedicated portal situated near the jetway.
This equipment checks that the passenger is alone and then reads the
information on the smartboarding® card and compares it with the
passenger’s fingerprints. If these tests, which are the equivalent of
the usual checks carried out to match a boarding card (paper or mobile
phone) to a passport are positive, the gate opens to allow the
passenger to board the aircraft.

4. At the door of the aircraft, passengers show the back of their card to the crew, in the same way as a normal boarding pass.

“For the last few years, Air France has embarked on a process of
trial and innovation to contribute to designing the air transport of
the future. Everything that can make air travel simpler and easier for
our customers has become the focus. With this world first, Air France
is taking a further step towards building the airport of tomorrow"
explained Patrick Roux, Vice President Marketing Air France KLM