London’s Heathrow airport launched a smart boarding system to improve airline punctuality by reducing airlines’ last minute searches for passengers or their bags.
With the Positive Boarding system, currently in operation in Heathrow’s Terminals 1 and 3, airlines are able to see the exact stage of a passenger’s progress through the departure process at a given time.
The system also provides passengers with information to help them make it to their flights on time.
Under the new system, passengers present the bar-code on their tickets at an automatic gate instead of a manned security gate. The gate allows the passengers through to security once the ticket details are verified.
The details from the bar-code are compared against a centralized flight information database and tailored information for the individual is displayed on screen. For example, passengers are informed to head to their correct departure terminal if they happen to be in the wrong terminal.
If passengers have insufficient time to catch their flight, they are asked to return to check-in and seek assistance from the airline.
The real time information about a passenger’s progress through the airport allows airlines to begin unloading the passenger’s luggage immediately if the passenger is checking in too late to make it to the flight, thereby improving punctuality.