These days, flying means having your travel documents in order and carrying multiple forms of identification. American fliers could potentially even have to carry a passport on domestic flights if their state does not stick to the government’s Real ID timeline.
In the future, however, this kind of ID hassle could go away altogether. Fliers could leave all their IDs at home and breeze through ticketing and security. This might sound like a pipe dream, but the technology is, apparently, already available. A Dutch man actually put the ID-free idea to the test at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.
Great strides have been made in the field of biometrics in the past few years. Some airports do, indeed, use fingerprinting and retinal scans to confirm passengers' identity, especially for the various pre-check programs. The high-tech tool that allowed Dutch tech entrepreneur Andreas Sjöström to breeze through Stockholm’s hub without a ticket, boarding pass or passport was much different than a digital fingerprinter, however.
Sjöström had something called a near-field communication (NFC) chip implanted just under the skin on his hand. Since Arlanda has NFC readers, which are usually used to scan contact-less cards or smartphones, Sjöström only had to waive his hand over the readers and the chip, which held his Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus member ID, would be read and his travel plans and identification confirmed.