Air New Zealand has introduced biometric facial recognition verification at its boarding gates at Los Angeles airport, following a successful trial period.

The airline is hoping that ‘boarding passes will soon be a thing of the past’ in the search for frictionless travel. Passengers will no longer need to scan a boarding pass or present their passports at the boarding gate.

Upon entering the US, Air New Zealand customers are provided with the opportunity to register with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) using their biometric information.

This data is then used to verify their identity at the automated airport kiosks when boarding their flight. The airline says that the biometric information is “secured by CBP and not directly accessible to Air New Zealand or any other airline using this service”.

Over 1,000 customers have already used the technology to board Air New Zealand flights, with the carrier stating that there has been “really positive” feedback.

The airline said that the technology will be rolled out at San Francisco airport, followed by the airline’s other US ports, but has not provided a timeline for this.

Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Nikhil Ravishankar commented:

“We’ve heard from customers that they want their airport experience to be hassle-free and technology is a key enabler of that. According to IATA, more than 75 per cent of customers see huge value in biometric verification and want to use it instead of passports and boarding passes.

“Contactless technology changes are coming thick and fast and we’re continuing to learn and adapt to new innovations that will make travel easier. In the new travel era, we need simplicity not complexity.

“Using biometrics at the boarding gate is only the beginning and we’re in talks with industry players, globally and here in New Zealand, about how we can use biometric technology throughout the whole airport process.

“This is another step towards our ambition to become the world’s leading digital airline, and is the result of months of hard mahi, planning and collaboration.”

Earlier this month the carrier unveiled its refreshed Air NZ app, which has had close to 2.3 million downloads.

Air New Zealand to launch refreshed app