New technology leads to touchless service at airport

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles World Airports is implementing more touch-free technology designed to help people travel safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New technology is making our facilities more touchless, clean and easier to navigate as we welcome more travelers back to the skies,” said Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport and Van Nuys Airport for the city of Los Angeles. “We are aggressively creating a touch-free journey from the curb to the gate, setting the standard for a reimagined airport experience.”

Airport officials say although passenger traffic is still down substantially from the same time in 2019, Labor Day weekend at Los Angeles International Airport has the potential to see an increased number of air travelers compared to the past several months.

Guests traveling out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal now have the option of using their personal mobile device to control one of a dozen airline check-in kiosks within the Departures Level.

Passengers can approach one of the designated kiosks, located in Aisle A of the terminal, and connect to a designated WiFi service. Once connected, guests use the camera app on their phone to scan a unique QR code on the kiosk in front of them, and their phone will become a “trackpad” to control the kiosk.

LAX plumbers have retrofitted manually operated drinking fountains in Terminal 4 to create a touchless system, and are in the process of doing the same in Terminal 5. Plumbers also are converting more restroom faucets to touchless systems, and nearly half of the approximately 240 touch-type faucets have been replaced.

Additionally, crews recently installed more than 250 hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport. An additional 100 stations will be installed this week, along with 18 sanitizing wipe dispensers located at the Smarte Carte rental stations, according to the airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection at LAX is piloting biometric technology that uses cameras to speed up entry and exit from the United States.

For departing passengers, Customs officials will use biometric facial comparison technology to match a new photo against images that the traveler has already voluntarily provided to the government, such as a passport, to help verify their identity prior to boarding select international flights.

The Virtual Assistance pilot program, which is now available in Terminal 2, allows airport guests to have real-time conversations with a customer service professional over a touch-free tablet system installed at the information booth.

As guests approach the information booth located on Lower/Arrivals Level, they will find a tablet connected to a “guest experience member” or other trained volunteer waiting to help them from a remote location, and they will be available to answer questions between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. daily.

Guests can provide immediate feedback about any LAX restroom’s cleanliness, need for restocking or other maintenance by pointing their smartphone camera at one of the QR codes on newly installed signs, then use the drop-down menu or open comment option. Guests can also include a photo of the issue.

All of the information is delivered to a maintenance dispatch center in real time, according to the airport.

LAX is among 50 U.S. airports in which the Transportation Security Administration is using new credential authentication technology for passengers to insert their photo ID into a reader without needing to exchange documents or show a boarding pass at security screening checkpoints.

Guests are still required to wear facial coverings or masks at all times while at LAX and Van Nuys Airport, and LAWA has installed partitions at the airports as well as other social distancing measures.

Additional information on COVID-19 safety measures at LAX is at FlyLAX.com.

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