Big brother is watching…your face as you board airplanes, with new technology at some airports that uses biometric scanning of your facial features instead of passports and boarding passes to allow you access to the flight.
At Orlando International Airport (MCO), some passengers are getting the chance to bypass boarding passes and passports on international flights. British Airways is undergoing a trial period of using SITA’s facial recognition technology at the Orlando airport, so travelers heading to London have their features biometrically scanned when attempting to board the plane. One look into the camera, and the gate opens. The trial is expected to last 90 days.
“Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible,” Raoul Cooper, British Airways’ digital airport design manager, told CIOL. “Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check. Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is underway.”
At the Orlando airport, officials say travelers are already enjoying the perks of the system.
“This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers,” John Newsome, chief information officer of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, told CIOL. “They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for the biometric exit with British Airways, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines at MCO.”
Passengers concerned about the process can choose to opt out, though, and board in the traditional way with a boarding pass and passport.