British Airways has expanded trials of biometric boarding and arrivals technology at US airports, with partnerships at LA, Orlando, Miami and JFK.

The carrier launched trials of biometric boarding gates at Los Angeles International in November, and says that the technology has resulted in it being able to board more than 400 customers in 22 minutes, a rate which it says is less than half the time needed when not using the technology.

Now BA has partnered with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, US Customs and Border Protection and technology partner SITA, to trial biometric boarding gates on its daily flight BA2036 from Orlando to Gatwick.

The airline says it is managing to board flights “of almost 240 customers in around ten minutes”.

The technology removes the need for travellers to present their boarding pass and passport at the boarding gate, with customers looking into a camera prior to boarding, and walking onto the aircraft once their biometric data has been verified through the matching of facial features with passport, visa or immigration photos.

In addition to the boarding trials at LAX and Orlando, BA passengers on flights from Heathrow to Miami and New York JFK can avail of a biometric arrivals trial, with the system using facial recognition to verify a customer’s identity and link the passenger to any records already held in the US Customs and Border Protection systems.

BA says that the technology removes the need for travel documents to be swiped or for customers to go through fingerprinting, with the aim to “vastly reduce the time customers spend in arrivals queues”.

Commenting on the trials Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said:

“We’re using technology that consumers are now familiar with and trust because it delivers a convenient, reliable and secure experience.

“Our latest trial with SITA in Orlando is helping us to reduce the time it takes to board our aircraft, and early indications are that using biometrics for arrivals has huge potential too.

“These trials will help us to evolve the technology and processes we use to best suits the needs of our customers.”

BA also introduced the use of biometric boarding gate technology last year at Heathrow T5.

New biometric gates being trialled at Heathrow