Most common cause of delays

A UK study has revealed the most common cause of delays in ePassport gates.

The study, conducted by UK retailer Feel Good Contacts, found that ePassport gates were most often fooled by facial hair.

But it wasn’t just beards that baffled e-gates: people who were overweight or underweight and those with facial piercing were also responsible for long waits in airport queues.

According to the numbers, in the past 12 months alone, more than half a million passengers arriving into Britain have failed these tests, leading to wait times totalling almost 380 days over the course of a year.

With seven new countries about to start accessing e-gate technology at airports, that number will only grow – unless passengers prevent their facial hair and bellies from growing.

“With the announcement that additional passengers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA are now able to use the ePassport gates at UK airports, the waiting times for ePassport gates looks only set to rise in the coming months,” said Feel Good Contacts managing director Nimesh Shah.

“Based on the figures from this research and the assumption that a failed check could cause up to a minute delay – though it could be more – this equates to an overall delay of just under 380 days per year.

“Facial recognition is no doubt one of the most important developments in airport security in recent years, but it’s important to remember that errors can still be made, particularly if a passenger’s passport photo is particularly old!”

According to Matt Lewis, a research director at cybersecurity and risk mitigation company, NCC Group, even factors such as mood, alertness, ‘physical conditions’ and hangovers can play a part in failing a test, says Travel Talk.

Have you ever been delayed by a beard? Would you ever have believed a beard could be the cause of so much trouble?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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