Schiphol trials biometric boarding

Uses facial recognition with Cathay Pacific

Passengers traveling with Cathay Pacific can now take part in a trial of biometric self-boarding at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

After checking in, passengers are invited to take part in the trial. Those that chose to do so are escorted to a registration kiosk where their passport, boarding pass and face are scanned. This is the point where the passenger’s facial biometrics are gathered.

When the process is complete, the new system generates what is known as a passenger’s single token. This token will be used throughout the airport to further identify the passenger.

The idea is that passengers will be able to self-process through a boarding gate without having to show any documents.

Passengers will next go to security and passport control, as always.

When boarding, passengers use a dedicated biometric-enabled eGate, where there face is scanned again. The live photo is automatically compared with the scan that was made when registering.

If the face is recognised, the gate will open and the passenger will be able to board

The overall concept is called ‘Seamless Flow’, a program that intends to make paperless travel possible in the long term.

By making self-boarding available, Schiphol is closer to achieving a completely Seamless Flow, which aims at offering passengers more convenience and a frictionless flow across the airport.

Wilma van Dijk, Schiphol’s Safety and Security Director:

“For passengers, the journey from arrival at the airport to boarding becomes easier and more efficient.

“Now you have to show your passport, your boarding card or both at various checkpoints at the airport, for example, when dropping your luggage, at the entrance to the security check, when passing the border and when you go boarding.

“In the future you can pass these control points more smoothly because you are recognized by your face. You can leave your passport and boarding pass in the bag. ”

Will Kerr-Muir, Cathay Pacific Country Manager Benelux & France:

“Cathay Pacific is always looking for ways to improve the experience of our customers at every stage of their journey with us, and the experience at the airport is an important and integral part of that journey. We are therefore happy to be part of this innovative trial, in order to prepare ourselves and our passengers for the future way of traveling.”

Miguel Leitmann, Vision-Box CEO:

“It’s all about the passenger. The whole idea of Seamless Flow is to modernize the airport landscape to improve the convenience, simplify the processes, propose modern interactions and deliver effective value to passengers.

“We’re very excited to continue working with our partners in this landmark program, offering Cathay Pacific customers with a pioneering seamless travel platform that will absolutely reshape how we travel.”

During the months ahead, scanning the face, passport and boarding pass will be tested on registration and during boarding. In the next phase, this list is intended to be expanded with passport control over the course of the year. In the pilot, the procedure and equipment will periodically be evaluated and adjusted if necessary.

For testing this innovation a consortium has been created with the Government, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Cathay Pacific, KLM and Vision-Box which developed the Seamless Flow technology platform.


Schiphol says that passenger “data will only be processed for the purpose to participate in this trial. All biometric data will automatically be deleted after 24 hours after scanning your face at the registration kiosk”. More details from Schiphol are here.

N.B. All image credits: Vision-box

Internet links

Cathay Pacific (CX)

Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)