LAS VEGAS -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would one day like to speed up the entry process through the use of text messaging. 

The vision was laid out Tuesday at the Future Travel Experience Conference in Las Vegas by Colleen Manahar, CBP's executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation. But Manahar said that the initiative does not have any sort of implementation time line. She challenged airport and airline representatives attending the conference to help make it happen. 

Under the messaging concept, CBP would text flyers immediately upon landing to direct them to various zones in the customs facilities. Travelers who would be expected to need longer processing times, such as immigrants arriving in the U.S. for the first time, would be directed to one zone, for example. More routine arrivals, such as the typical American passport holder returning home, would be directed to a different zone.  

"Real-time management of travelers throughout the industry is the future," Manahar said. 

CBP is presently in the process of implementing biometric entry and exit via facial recognition at airports around the country. The agency is currently trialing facial-recognition entry -- eliminating the need for travelers to present their passports -- in 14 airports. It is testing facial-recognition exit at 15 airports.

In October, Orlando's airport will become the first in the country to deploy facial-recognition technology at all international gates. The exit deployments come pursuant to a mandate from Congress that CBP collect biometric records on all foreign nationals departing the U.S.

Meanwhile, last February, Miami's airport became the first in the U.S. to have an entire international concourse in which facial-recognition entry is deployed.

A step like texting arriving flyers would further CBP's use of technology to ease the travel process, Manahar said.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI