Travellers won’t have to show anything other than their face to board Jet Blue flights between Boston Logan International Airport and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport this summer.
The airline is partnering with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and aviation technology company SITA to test the use of facial recognition for screening passengers queued up at departure gates.
“This is the first integration of biometric authorisation by the CBP with an airline, and may prove to be a solution that will be quick and easy to roll out across US airports,” said Jim Peters, chief technology officer at SITA.
Rather than having to present a paper or digital boarding pass, travellers will step up to a camera station to have their face photographed. The digital image will then be transferred to CBP, which will verify the passenger’s identity: a lighted sign will inform travellers when they are cleared to board. Jet Blue gate agents will be issued iPad Mini tablets to help manage the boarding process.
“We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience at Jet Blue.
“Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”
Participation in the Boston biometric experiment, which begins this month, is optional for Jet Blue passengers.