DENVER -- Early on the morning of Oct. 26, lines were significant at the TSA checkpoint here at Denver Airport. In addition, the train cars, which transport flyers from the airport's main terminal to its three passenger terminals, were filling up with more people than many would consider comfortable in the age of Covid-19.
But I didn't have a single person ahead of me in my security lane. And I took my train ride to Terminal C with only one other person in the car, and she got out before my stop.
The reason: I was taking advantage of an innovative, free new service called Verifly that Denver Airport began offering late last month.
It's a tech solution, developed by the airport in partnership with the biometric solution provider Daon, with the intent of offering a lower-contact airport experience for high-risk travelers as well as people who are simply seeking more safety in their travel journey.
These days, airlines and airports are rolling out a variety of tech solutions aimed toward reducing physical airport touchpoints. Notable, for example, are touchless bag-check kiosks that United and American have deployed at terminals across the country.
Verifly, though, is a first of its kind -- at least as far as I know and as far as officials at Denver Airport know.
To use it, I downloaded the Verifly app to my phone the day before my trip and then used the app to select the 15-minute window during which I would arrive at the dedicated Verifly security lane at the Denver TSA checkpoint. I downloaded the app less than a day before my flight, so as I set my appointment, it asked me a handful of questions about my health and about any possible exposure I might have had to anyone with Covid-19. However, I could have set the appointment up to two weeks before the flight. And had I done so earlier, the app would have waited until approximately a day before the appointment time for the health verification.
In any case, the process took just a couple of minutes.
Verifly users have their temperature scanned before entering their own TSA screening lane. Photo Credit: TW photo by Robert Silk
At the checkpoint the following morning, an airport agent assisted me in scanning a QR code the Verifly app had generated for access through the gate of the Verifly lane. As I did that, the gate's automated system also conducted a temperature scan. The scan happened so fast that it was over before I realized it had begun.
From there, I had my own lane as I went through the normal TSA screening process.
Next, I headed to the train stop, and specifically to the gated area marked for Verifly passengers. The QR code got me through that, as well. Then off I went, in a car that turned out to be almost private.
It was a simple process. And one that kept me clear of larger crowds both at the checkpoint and in the train.
To be clear, Verifly doesn't promise quite as private an experience as I had. The Verify train car is capped at 12 passengers. And while appointments to the Verifly security lane are also capacity managed, it was mere happenstance that no one was there when I arrived.
Spokeswoman Emily Williams told me that Denver Airport has been encouraged with Verifly usage numbers early in the program. But, no doubt, as more people learn about it, the numbers will rise. And if they rise enough that reserving a Verifly spot becomes a challenge, I imagine the airport could add a second Verifly lane, or perhaps discourage less vulnerable flyers like myself from signing up.
Meanwhile, Williams said, a number of other airports have expressed an interest in learning from Verifly. She said they "may move forward with a similar solution once we prove it successful."