As throngs of weary travellers streamed through one of Europe’s busiest travel hubs, the female security guard at Stockholm Arlanda Airport looked up at Andreas Sjostrom, confused.
Somehow, without a boarding pass or even a smartphone, Sjostrom had managed to activate her scanner, and the system was telling her to let him in.
Sjostrom is not a robot or a Jason Bourne-style secret assassin; he’s simply a curious Swede who decided to have a microchip implanted in his hand with his frequent flyer identification number on it.
He’s the first person in the world to get on a plane this way, sailing through security, then into the Scandinavian Airlines lounge and onto his flight to Paris in late December.
“It was a fluent experience,” Sjostrom, the vice-president of digital for a tech consulting company, told the Star by phone from Stockholm.
“Just the feeling that I carry something that cannot run out of batteries because it’s not battery-powered — it’s awakened by the reader when I come close to it, and I can’t lose it … I am actually carrying the right to travel. You can strip me of everything and the system will let me in anyway.”
The 43-year-old is a frequent flyer on Scandinavian Airlines. He bought a kit online and had the airline encrypt his EuroBonus number, used to keep track of bookings, on what’s called a near field communication (NFC) chip.
He then had a nurse inject the chip into his hand. And when he placed it over the scanners at the airport, the machines could read the data.