Logan International Airport is trying to take the stress out of long security lines, giving eager travelers one less thing to worry about when they hit the skies this summer.
Beginning in April, the airport launched an eight-week pilot program that offers virtual queueing and allows busy travelers to nix overcrowded TSA security lines at one of the nation’s busiest airports.
The program, which is currently being offered in Terminal B through a UK-based technology company known as accesso, allows travelers to virtually “check-in” to security through a mobile device. Customers can then follow a virtual countdown to the front of the line and scan a QR code to redeem their space.
“The TSA line creates stress for many travelers, so our goal for this pilot program is to see if a virtual queue improves the customer experience by helping to reduce some of that stress while traveling,” said Kwang Chen, chief information officer at the Massachusetts Port Authority, in a press release.
While virtual spot-saving technology is not new — it’s been used in amusement parks and entertainment venues for years — it does signify a shift in how airport security could operate in a post-pandemic world. Many airports have already begun investing in new hygiene technology, while Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has implemented its own spot saver pilot program.
Representatives at accesso Technology Group, which works with 1,000 venues in 30 countries worldwide, are currently in talks with Massport to continue the program and expand to other airports, said George Hambleton, the company’s vice president of sales.
“We always knew that there were other markets out there for this type of product but COVID-19 was really the catalyst that started it,” Hambleton said. “We really weren’t that aggressive in going after other markets in the past.”
Spot-holding programs also offer revenue-generating benefits to the airline and transportation industry, enticing travelers to grab a bite to eat or shop and spend while they wait, Hambleton added.
Household spending nationwide has seen an uptick in recent months as vaccinations ramp up and business restrictions and mandates have been lifted. Many states, including Massachusetts, have lifted COVID-19 restrictions and loosened mask mandates. As of June 3, about 3.7 million people have been fully vaccinated statewide.
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