As per an official announcement, Emirates has become the first airline outside America to get approval for biometric boarding from the U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP). Under this, passengers flying from Dubai to any of the 12 US  destinations under Emirates network will soon be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, thereby speeding up the check-in process.

Commenting on this achievement, Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi, divisional senior vice president, Emirates group security said, “Safety and security will always remain our number one priority, as Emirates continues to explore and invest in innovative solutions for hassle-free travel that help our customers fly better. Our ultimate aim is to help our passengers travel paperless, without the need for passports and IDs.

Biometric boarding is one more step in streamlining processes at our hub using digital technology, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind. We are talking with authorities of several countries to make security using facial recognition technology more acceptable and accessible.”

How does the biometric boarding process work?

Passenger’s picture is clicked at the boarding gate, which is then matched against CBP’s gallery in real-time to verify the person’s identity. However, the system may not work for those who haven’t travelled to the US in a long time or whose images are not registered in CBP’s gallery, in which case they have to approach the gate desks.

The trials were conducted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles during July and August this year. The UAE-based airline is expected to implement biometric boarding process across all its US destinations by end of this year.

Currently, Emirates flies to 12 US cities including New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Orlando among others.