Wouldn’t you love to be able to hop on an aircraft to another country, just with your face? Well, British Airways is to commence a biometric recognitional trial for international flights.
In theory, this will mean passengers can travel through the airport, whilst keeping their passports in their pockets.
Customers who sign up to take part in the airline’s trial from London Heathrow Terminal 5 will be invited to scan their face, passport and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet ahead of travel, with this information being kept safe and secure.
When trial participants arrive at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify their identity in under three seconds, allowing them to keep their passports safely in their pockets until they reach their destination.
The trial will run for six months on British Airways flights to Malaga, Spain. it will not be available on any other international route.s
If you decide to opt into the trial, you will be invited to use the Fast-Track security lane and receive complimentary priority boarding.
How will it work?
Select customers travelling from London Heathrow Terminal 5 are being invited to volunteer and will receive an email three days ahead of their flight.
You will also be able to participate in the trial and register your identity at various touchpoints at Check-In Zone B.
Once checked in and registered, you will still need your passport however in case an inspection is required – and of course for entering your destination.
David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways, said: “Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights. This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft”
“The beauty of this technology is that it also frees our people up to look after more complex customer enquiries and deliver the best possible customer service.”
Biometrics are in use at airports in the UK – mainly on domestic flights. The current system for UK Domestic operations records facial scans at Security and matches them at the boarding gate (with airlines across the board implementing this requirement).
The idea of “Passportless travel” and “using biometrics for everything” is well within our daily lives – we use biometrics for all sorts of systems, such as door entry, computer logins, unlocking your phone, timecards and so on, with the idea that you are the access token, rather than using a password, a pin, or some other method.
There have been similar implementations, with Delta utilising such technology for some of its airports and routes.
Of course, we all only have one face – which makes such data a target. According to British Airways, the technology used in the trial has been created by travel technology company Amadeus and customised.
Data security has always been important – but it gets even more critical with biometric data.
It’ll be interesting to see how the data is handled, as well as if British Airways chooses to extend it further.
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