Airplane Self-Boarding Arrives in U.S.

Self-boarding for planes is being tested for the first time in the U.S., at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Continental Airlines has installed turnstile-like self-boarding devices at one gate, USA Today reports.

Rather than handing your boarding pass to a gate agent for scanning, you scan your own boarding pass to open the turnstile's arm and get on the plane – just like you would at a subway station.

Passengers also still have the option of having their pass scanned by a gate agent.

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesman tells the newspaper the process does not impact security, noting passengers are screened at security checkpoints before arriving at boarding gates.

The turnstiles have actually been a fixture at international airports for a few years. The newspaper says at least 14 airlines use them internationally including Lufthansa and Air France.

Aviation analyst Michael Boyd is cynical about the idea arriving in the U.S., however. "Any reduction in human contact between employee and customer is good these days," he tells USA Today.

"As long as you have someone to tell grandma where to stick the paper," he says, "you're fine."

Photo, BriYYZ, flickr
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