Air France no longer checking ID at boarding gates

Air France will no longer check that passengers’ tickets match their identity documents on certain flights

Air France is no longer checking that passengers’ boarding documents match their ID at the point of aeroplane boarding, prompting concerns from a pilots’ union and the mayor of Nice.

Specifically, the airline will no longer check that passengers’ tickets match their identity documents when travelling on flights within France, and those within the Schengen zone. The measure will also apply to Hop! and Transavia routes, explains newspaper Le Figaro.

According to a spokesperson from Air France, the company “considers that the procedure for verifying that the name on the passenger's boarding pass corresponds to the passenger's identity card has been obsolete since 1 November last year”.

The checking was a measure that had been put in place since the now-lifted French state of emergency was imposed in November 2016, the company said, and it is now “back to what we were doing before”.

Pilots’ union Le Syndicat des Pilotes de la Compagnie Aérienne (SPAF) has warned that the practice will make it more difficult to identify passengers if necessary.

Speaking to news source Europe 1, Grégoire Aplincourt, president of the SPAF, said: “With this measure, you could have a passenger on the plane who is attempting to commit a malicious act. Fortunately, baggage is screened, but overall, you could have a passenger who has had someone else buy his ticket for the wrong reasons.”

Similarly, Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, tweeted his displeasure at the change, calling it “inacceptable” and demanding “the re-establishment” of the measure for “all companies”.

And yet, Gilles Leclair, director of safety at Air France, defended the move, saying that it was not required by European regulations, and did not present a danger.

He said: “Persons who arrive at the boarding gate are supposed to be secured, since they have passed through screening and have undergone the usual checks, i.e. X-ray screening of their carry-on baggage and sometimes a check for traces of explosives.

He added: “People who arrive at the boarding gate, if they are not the right person with the right identity, do not constitute a security problem when boarding the aircraft.”

An Air France spokesperson said the company would “stay alert to client reactions” to the change, but said that the new measure would save passengers such significant time at the gate - on the point of boarding - that it was likely other airlines would follow the company’s lead in future.

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