BERLIN (AP) — The German airline Lufthansa has started testing tickets encoded with passengers' thumbprint data in hopes of speeding up check-ins without compromising security.

The 14-day trial started Monday with Lufthansa employees trying out the system, spokesman Thomas Jachnow said. If all goes well, the airline wants to roll it out in 2006.

Though people will still be able to check in for flights using the "classic system," the voluntary use of biometric data would make the process quicker, Jachnow said.

Passengers would get tickets encoded with their thumbprint data, then check themselves in by placing their thumbs on a machine. Frequent fliers would have their thumbprint data encoded on their frequent flier cards instead of their tickets, Jachnow said.

The German government is also starting to make use of biometric data in travel documents and will start issuing passports embedded with facial data in November. A fingerprint will be added in March 2007.


"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area."

-UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer