British Airways has become the first airline to trial self-service biometric boarding gates on international flights out of the USA.
The airline is working in partnership with Los Angeles Airport on a trial that they say will transform passenger’ airport experience by improving the boarding process and significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to board an aircraft.
Passengers will no longer need to present their passport or boarding pass at the gate – only at check in and security. At the boarding gate, passengers can simply look into a camera before boarding, wait for their biometric data to be verified, and then board the aircraft.
The biometric gates use high definition camera technology, and allow passengers to pass through by recognising their unique facial features, and reconciling them with the digital facial scan taken as part of the immigration process.
Safety and security is at the core of biometric facial recognition technology, and British Airways has been working closely in partnership with the Customs and Border Protection Agency and the US government to develop and approve the scheme.
The biometric eGates come from Portuguese company Vision-box.
The gates have been installed on three stands at Los Angeles Airport. The project builds on technology already in use by British Airways on its domestic flights from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – checking passengers’ biometric data at the gate when they scan their boarding pass.
Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience:
“Our customers want the ability to simplify and speed up their journeys through the airport, so we’re investing in the most advanced technology that will enable us to streamline our boarding process and further improve our punctuality.
“We’re using biometric technology that consumers are now familiar with and trust because it delivers a convenient, reliable and secure experience. This step forward to modernise our operation is a first in the industry, and we will continue to work with airports around the world to evolve this technology, and revolutionise the way in which people travel.”
Justin Erbacci, Los Angeles World Airports Chief Innovation and Technology Officer:
“This industry-first deployment of innovative solutions from the US Customs and Border Protection and Vision-Box, shows the amazing potential of using biometrics to speed up the boarding process while maintaining safety and security.
“We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition to board British Airways flights from LAX to Heathrow.”
N.B. Image credit: British Airways