by Mark Albert
WASHINGTON (TVR) – Airport biometrics are taking off.
Airlines are aggressively rolling out pilot programs using facial recognition, fingerprint readers, and iris scans at nearly every major step of the airport journey.
JetBlue this week became the latest carrier to announce it is experimenting with biometrics.
The low-cost carrier is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to use facial recognition for “self-boarding”—the first airline to do so, it claims.
Beginning later this month, passengers flying from Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) will be able to voluntarily look into a camera using facial recognition software instead of scanning a boarding pass.
The camera is connected to a CBP database to verify a passenger’s identity and itinerary.
In a statement, JetBlue’s executive vice president of customer experience, Joanna Geraghty, said “We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve. Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”
Jim Peters, the chief technology at SITA, the company providing the software and hardware for the program, added, “This is the first integration of biometric authorization by the CBP with an airline and may prove to be a solution that will be quick and easy to roll out across US airports.”