British Airways is the first airline in the UK to test the use of biometric technology for international flights, allowing trial participants to move through airports “smartly” without having to produce their passports. Those who have Global Entry will be familiar with the long history of biometric use in the US. For domestic flights in the UK, BA has been employing biometric boarding gates since 2017.
Customers who sign up to participate in the airline’s trial out of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow will be asked to scan their face, passport, and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet prior to travel, with the information being kept secure.
Trial participants can retain their passports safely in their pockets until they arrive at their destination since Smart Bio-Pod cameras at the airport quickly authenticate their identity.
British Airways’ Operations Transformation Manager, David Breeze, stated: “Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights. This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft”
“The beauty of this technology is that it also frees our people up to look after more complex customer enquiries and deliver the best possible customer service.”
On flights operated by British Airways to Malaga, Spain, the trial will last six months. Customers that choose to participate will be given priority boarding and invited to use the Fast-Track security line.
It is anticipated that the trial will be expanded to more international flights if it is successful.
A volunteer invitation email will be sent to a select group of passengers departing from London Heathrow Terminal 5 three days prior to their flight.
You must still have your passport on hand, but anything that makes the process go more quickly is a plus in my book. If you are only traveling with hand luggage to a few specific locations, this will undoubtedly speed up the passport check.
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